Rolls-Royce drive taste with bespoke 3D printing

In a conversation with Forbes Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Vice President and Director of Rolls-Royce, explains how he managed to save the company from its downward spiral in 2009. The success is due in part to the departure from determined taste-maker to bespoke manufacturer, and with that, embracing new technologies such as 3D printing.

‘With our Bespoke, you really have all opportunities sitting with our designers and engineers and can say ‘I want to have my very own personalized masterpiece—please build it for me.’”

As explored in last week’s article about the autonomous car/drone combo put together by 3D printed car makers Local Motors, the future of the automotive industry is in self-driven cars. Müller-Ötvös adds ‘Autonomous mobility means crashes won’t happen. That brings more freedom in how you design bodywork. We think better 3D printing devices will allow us to 3D print big body panels’.

Müller-Ötvös with the Vision car, 103EX by Rolls-Royce chief designer Giles Taylor. Created with consumer’s individuality in mind. Image via: Forbes

Integrating carbon-fiber into the process is certainly on their minds too, as recently demonstrated by the Rolls-Royce i3 electric car. This subject was recently touched upon by Mcor CEO Conor MacCormack in his interview discussing the company’s collaboration with Honda. The combination of 3D printing molds for carbon-fiber parts has proved to be especially advantageous for Formula-1 car parts that require the lightest-materials money can buy, and a quick manufacturing turnaround to keep up with trends.

Small batch/high volume production is the direction being taken by manufacturers to feed a consumer’s growing demand for individuality. MakerBot inventor Bre Pettis is one of the innovators quick to jump in on this trend. After years out of the public eye, he returned last month with a new ‘heirloom gift company’. Many of the goods offered by Bre & Co. are 3D printed, and all of them can be personalized, usually by laser engraving, to make the small batch objects truly personal and one of a kind.

Bre & Co. Origami Sake Set
3D printed ceramic Origami Sake Set from: Bre & Co.

Though Rolls-Royce may not be driving taste as explicitly anymore (A Rolls-Royce still remains a Rolls-Royce. Their bodies are as unique as their approach.) such a serious commitment to tailor-made manufacturing, and its corresponding growth in sales, could see them as trend-setters for a whole new wave of automotive manufacturing in the years to come.

Featured image shows a bespoke orange metallic Rolls Royce Photo via: Müller-Ötvös mentioned the creation in his conversation with Forbes, giving reason to the need for creating bespoke design. He says ‘in the middle of London [a bright orange Phantom] might seem shocking, but if you see this car in Abu Dhabi or Dubai roads—where the sunlight is different, the whole color setting is different—you suddenly say ‘Wow, what a stunning piece.’