Car bumpers are a moulded shell with wiring and other devices embedded. The normal manufacturing process involves clipping a separate wiring harness to the inside of the shell to connect the lighting and sensors.

This project was a concept study carried out to assess the feasibility of producing car bumpers complete with wiring automatically.

The solution was to deposit wire traps using 5 axis polymer deposition and then install wires directly onto the inner surface of the bumper. Overprinting of the components and wiring to create a more robust product.

This paper study indicated that one Q5D manufacturing cell could produce around 10,000 bumpers per year. The CAD/CAM automation means that a very high degree of variant flexibility could be supported without cost penalty.

Elimination of manual labour means that the footprint of the manufacturing process is reduced and the simplification of the supply chain means that inventory and lead-time reduction would be enabled.


  • Greater economic variant flexibility
  • Fully automated manufacture
  • Increased product resilience
  • Limited or no product re-design required
  • Reduced manufacturing errors
  • QA/QC inherent in process record
  • Simplification of supply chain
  • Increased supply chain ownership

Key attributes

Q5D Solution

Annual production 100,000 / cell
Footprint / cell 4m2 (cell only)
Takt time <30mins/bumper
By Last Updated: 26 April 2023

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