MINI to increase customer personalisation via 3D printing

MINI is turning to 3D printing technology to offer its customers a wider range of personalisation options.

MINI is turning to 3D printing technology to offer its customers a wider range of personalisation options – image courtesy of BMW MINI.

MINI announced that it will be offering a new service for its customers, allowing them to customise their new rides even more.

Since customisation is an intricate part of MINI’s business model, the British company being known for its diverse offerings in the field, this was big news for its fans.

From 2018 onwards new and existing MINI owners will be able to design their own exterior and interior trim components via a dedicated online configurator.

Thomas Schmitz, product manager of MINI Yours Customised, said: “Individualisation has always been a big topic with MINI. Now we want to take individualisation to the next level.”

The upgrade package includes 3D-printed side indicator inlays and dashboard trim, as well as personalised sill plates and LED puddle lights.

The indicator inlays and dashboard facia come in one of five colours and can display text, simple images and textured patterns, or one of a small selection of cityscapes.

Using a laser etching technique, meanwhile, the illuminated sill plates can present text in the owner’s handwriting, basic graphics and even star constellations. Additionally, when the doors are opened, the puddle lights project personalised text onto the ground.

BMW expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales by 2025 - image courtesy of BMW MINI
BMW expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales by 2025 – image courtesy of BMW MINI

The components, which are designed to be fitted at home, will be manufactured in Munich, with MINI anticipating a four-week lead time once the designs have been submitted. Each component is subject to the same BMW Group crash and durability tests as any other item of trim.

MINI and BMW will be working with Hewlett Packard to refine their 3D printing process and all customised parts will be done by BMW in Munich before being shipped to the UK.

Last year BMW had committed to selling 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017. Based on this commercial success, BMW Group announced that the plant in Oxford will be making approximately 90,000 all-electric MINI cars annually from 2019, when the planned fully-electric car goes into production.