Dynamic bench testing of Bugatti's 3D printed brake caliper Click image to enlarge

High performance vehicle maker Bugatti is employing advanced metal additive manufacturing technology to build automotive components.

Bugatti has produced many metal 3D printed functional components on machines developed and manufactured by SLM Solutions.

A brake caliper, the volumetrically largest functional titanium component built with selective laser melting to be tested, was subjected to dynamic bench testing that found that a tensile strength of 1,250 N/mm2 and a material density over 99.7 per cent was achieved. (You can view a video of the caliper bench testing here.) 

“Proof that additively produced metal components can cope with extreme strength, stiffness and temperature requirements at speeds of over 375 km/h with a braking force of 1.35 g and brake disc temperatures up to 1,100°C,” said Frank Götzke, head of new technologies at Bugatti.

The component was manufactured in the aerospace alloy Ti6Al4V with Fraunhofer IAPT (formerly Laser Zentrum Nord) and Bionic Production AG on an SLM500 featuring four 400W lasers.

Bugatti utilizes selective laser melting not only for lightweighting, but also within the functional scope of its vehicles. “We always strive for absolute perfection, stylistic as well as technical, as well as considering the perfect synergy of both elements – the tradition of Ettore Bugatti we uphold,” said Götzke.

The active spoiler bracket, also manufactured on an SLM500 with Fraunhofer IAPT, represents this synergy, helping to enable the 1,500 hp vehicle to reach speeds of 400 km/h in just 32.6 seconds – and bringing it back to a stop in just nine seconds. The active rear spoiler can be adjusted in height and angle, supporting the sophisticated aerodynamics required.

Bugatti teamed with Siemens to optimize the bracket for production and reduce the number of iterations needed to optimize for weight and rigidity. Utilizing 3D printed titanium with a tensile strength of 1,250 MPa and a material density of over 99.7 per cent, the spoiler bracket was reduced by 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs.), a weight reduction of 53 per cent – while rigidity was increased without sacrificing any functionality.

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