Short production times enable more iterations during product development and reduce costs
Exact simulation of the characteristics of the actual component
Expensive mold-making is only required for final part
The engineers have successfully applied additive manufacturing using EOS technology to construct exterior parts of the front wing’s assembly for their 2016 racing car.
Two machines come into play at this point: the EOSINT P 390 and, in particular, the EOSINT P 760 with its large build volume. Both are suitable for using laser sintering technology to produce plastics. Williams Martini Racing engineers use CAD software to initially design a number of front wing cascades. Each design features intricate geometries implementing the ideas and simulations for high down-thrust and optimum tire grip. The team’s members transfer these early designs to the EOS system, which then produces the mold prototypes to the greatest precision. Once the construction team has drawn up a short list of potential designs, the complex building of appropriate molds takes place for the actual carbon-fiber-composite components, which will ultimately be tested on the racetrack.
The complex design of the individual parts presents no particular problems when using the additive manufacturing process. The extreme flexibility of design is perhaps the greatest of the many advantages that this technology offers. The EOS machines also achieve the necessary component mechanics and dimensional tolerance with ease—to the extent that it was almost clear from the outset that the fundamental prerequisites defining a successful outcome would be achieved.
The total saving of development time resulting from this translates into cost reductions. Success on the track also supports the team‘s revenue streams. Components optimized in this way deliver results in the races—and the F1 governing body, FIA (Fédération Internationale de l‘Automobile), distributes funds from the racing series’ advertising revenues for every point won in the driver and constructor tables.
We were able to continually reduce the production times because we were able to design the complete manufacturing process in a much simpler, more efficient way.For the first time, it is now possible to test the components without the need to carry out complex, time consuming and expensive mold construction for designs that are ultimately rejected.