F Not everything was better before, just with a platitude to start, but some names were kind of cooler. For example, there was the special requests department at Porsche. Sounds a bit like 'Ministry of Magic', a little mysterious. A place where everyone wears white cotton gloves and always pensively strokes the parts they have just attached. Today, for two years, we have known this area as an Exclusive Manufactory. The naming has become more sober, but it is still not explained there that a black paint is the best choice with a view to reselling. On the contrary - it can be colorful and flashy. The last prominent creation was a golden 911 Turbo.
Today, the former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber is in Porsche's Plant 1, which houses Exclusive Manufaktur's customer service, and remembers his first special request: “I had the carbon brake system on my 997 GT3 RS and wanted black calipers instead of yellow ones. An impossibility, they said at Porsche. The color shows the technology and black looks like steel brakes have been installed. ”In the meantime, this request would no longer be a problem, because since this discussion, customers have always had the option of glossy black calipers in the configurator.
A robot with a print head
The Porsche special requests department is therefore evolving, and that includes the addition of new options. The latest of these includes a new process that Porsche has called 'Direct Printing'. This will bea print head with 32 individually controllable nozzles is mounted on a robot arm, which then prints a predetermined motif at a continuous distance from the body part. In principle, it is like chasing a front hood through an inkjet printer. Just a little more complex. The motif of choice and currently the only official option in connection with the printing process: the customer's fingerprint on the hood.
The graphic is gradually applied in 40 strips, each 20 millimeters wide. The robot creates around 1,800 pixels per lane, always maintaining a 90-degree angle to the component. “That is why only horizontal surfaces without edges and beading are currently possible motifs,” explains Porsche engineer Roman Komolzew. However, they are already working on solutions for other areas of the body.
Wind, weather and car wash
The complexity of the process lies in the combination of the robot technology with all its sensors, the application technology and the Paint technology. The end product is characterized by the fact that there is no elevation of the motif. After sanding, cleaning and a coat of clear varnish, any unevenness is history. In this way, Porsche wants to guarantee comprehensive durability that defies wind, weather and car wash - unlike what would be the case with foiling.
Measured against the fact that, depending on the individualization effort at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur If you add 200,000 euros to the price of a new car, the fingerprint hood is comparatively cheap. This most personal of all designs costs 7,500 euros and can be ordered from March 2020. Before your data protection heart skips a few beats - the fingerprint will of course be revised to such an extent that it cannot be used as a ploy.