Whether it’s a prototype concept car, a production car or a formula 1 racing car, Additive Manufacturing is likely to have played a part in its development. We work with a wide range of customers and engineers in the automotive sector, producing parts that solve specific engineering issues.
For example, our concept heat exchanger has created a huge response from automotive design engineers across the whole industry. The heat exchanger demonstrates that AM parts can deliver a lighter part, that is optimised for performance ensuring functional strength and structural integrity that fits into an irregular space. And the component is then made using the exact amount of material required to perform its function – cutting out not only weight but also production costs. Thus the AM part outperforms its subtractive manufactured alternative hands down.
Making automotive parts from Titanium or Inconel automatically brings a weight reduction and with automotive engineers frequently working to tight deadlines, the speed from concept, through design to final part when using AM is a huge benefit.
There are many benefits for the automotive sector in exploring all that Additive Manufacturing can offer.
Designed for electronic twin-clutch gear change in a high-performance vehicle, the original gear change hydraulic actuator system was machined from two aluminium blocks and assembled using bolts. The hydraulic pathways were conventionally drilled and plugged, creating multiple right-angle bends. The brief was to review the part and redesign it to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing.
Design Engineers at Swindon Engines, the high performance engine specialist, were tasked with designing an Airbox suitable for conditions encountered by a high performance production road car. The part would be used on track testing and so would need to withstand the associated vibration, heat and deliver the long service life required.
The SAVING Project wanted to take a conventional part, redesign it to take advantage of the benefits of Additive Manufacturing thereby reducing its weight, in order to demonstrate the potential energy saving possible during the product’s lifetime use.
Working with Within Technologies, we wanted to produce a concept heat exchanger with a radical new approach to design which would demonstrate that additive manufacturing (AM) frees designers from constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing technologies.
Mike Stevens, Senior CAM Engineer at Jordan says “During the season 3T probably build around 35 parts a week for us. But when we were developing the 2001 car it might have been as many as 50 or 60. The guys at 3T really did their best to quickly turn parts around for us, and we could be confident that we would get the parts back when we needed them.”
Students graduating in automotive, transport and product design from Coventry University in June 2009 displayed a wide variety of final projects; from hydrogen-powered super cars to electric commuters.
3T RPD Ltd has sponsored the Oxford Brookes team for several years, and were delighted to support them again by supplying parts for their 2007 race car. Using plastic Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology, 3T built two housings in Glass Filled Nylon using Selective Laser Sintering for the cars electronic components ...
Using Plastic AM resulted in Triple Eight Racing gaining confidence in geometrical conformity and material strength when using rapid prototyped parts on the engine dyno. The advantages of this become very clear when you can have a number of parts from conception, through the plastic AM process, inspected, built up and on the dyno within 2 weeks …
The University of Hertfordshire is among the leading Universities in the UK for Engineering and Motorsport students. It is very well established within the automotive industry, having run Automotive Degree courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for over 30 years.