In January 2018 performance car brand Bugatti, in partnership with SLM Solutions, unveiled a 3D printed brake caliper. Now, in a new video clip from parent company Volkswagen, the titanium component has been put to the test demonstrating how the company is gearing up towards 3D printing in series production.
Large but light
A first for the automotive industry, Bugatti’s brake caliper is tipped to be “the world’s largest 3D printed titanium pressure functional component ever produced.” It is made on an SLM 500 3D printer and takes, on average, 45 hours to complete. This 45 hours equates to 2,213 layers, and 2.9 kg of titanium.
According to Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies in Technical Development at Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., “Everyone who looks at the part is surprised at how light it is – despite its large size. Technically, this is an extremely impressive brake caliper, and it also looks great.”
To braking point
In the new clip from Volkswagen the Bugatti caliper is put through its paces “on one of the most powerful brake test benches on the market.”
Placed on a disc repeatedly accelerated to speeds of up to 400 km/h (249 mph) the caliper is proven to withstand temperatures exceeding 1857 °F (1014 °C) – nearing the max speed of the latest Bugatti Chiron (420 km/h, 261 mph).
The company is now seeking to increase the speed of production for these parts while maintaining overall quality.
Next generation automobile production
Volkswagen is investing heavily in the development of 3D printing technologies for its future vehicle production. In 2018, the company won the 3D Printing Industry Award for Automotive/Aerospace Application of the Year through introducing FFF to tooling. Later in the year it became a founding partner of HP Metal Jet 3D printer development. And most recent in Wolfsburg, the automotive manufacturing capital of Germany, the company opened a cutting edge metal additive manufacturing facility.
Eventually, Volkswagen hopes to be able to introduce its 3D printed brake calipers into the series production of next generation Chiron or Divo cars.
Götzke concludes, “In 3D printing development, Bugatti is the leader in the Volkswagen group.”
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Featured image shows the Bugatti 3D printed brake caliper put to the test. Image via Volkswagen AG