Testing the 3D printed brake caliper from Bugatti. Click image to enlarge

Metal additive manufacturing technology is accelerating industrial development in the automotive sector, as shown by the repeated success of the Bugatti sports car brand in achieving consistent function integration and significant performance optimization of components.

Multiple metal 3D printed functional components from Bugatti have been previously featured in the press, and all were produced on machines developed and manufactured by SLM Solutions.

Sparks fly during the dynamic bench testing of a Bugatti brake caliper, the volumetrically largest functional titanium component built with selective laser melting to be tested.


"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 1.35g and brake disc temperatures up to 1,100°C", says Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies at Bugatti. The caliper test showed that a tensile strength of 1,250 N/mm2 and a material density over 99.7% was achieved.

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.

Front axel differential before and after bionic optimizationClick image to enlarge

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,” Götzke stated. The active spoiler bracket, manufactured on an SLM®500 with Fraunhofer IAPT (formerly Laser Zentrum Nord), represents this combination, aiding the 1,500hp 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 percent, the spoiler bracket was reduced by 5.4kg, a weight reduction of 53 per cent, yet increased rigidity while sacrificing no functional benefits.

With fewer sparks but no less intrigue, a small bracket with integrated water cooling acts an active heat shield to boast a remarkable reduction in transferred heat. The motor bracket has been installed in all series vehicles since the delivery of the first Bugatti Chiron from the supercar manufacturer’s production facility in Molsheim, France.

The Chiron, like its predecessor, the Veyron, has two separate water-cooling circuits to keep the component and system temperatures at an acceptable level, even under the most extreme environmental and operating conditions. The high-temperature circuit is used to cool the 1,500hp W16 engine of the supercar, while the low-temperature circuit ensures that the intake charge cooling temperature remains suitably low. A bypass flow filter of the NT circuit supplies the console while isolating the electronic components from the temperatures of the transmission oil tank. The primary task of the bracket is to engage the gears while opening and closing the two clutches of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission while including the control unit. As a result, the temperature at the electric motor and at the control unit of the pump when driving through a demanding handling course can be lowered from 130°C to 90°C, a reduction of 40°C.

The bracket, which was manufactured in the alloy AlSi10Mg on an SLM 280 Twin, was commissioned by SLM Solutions at Rolf Lenk Werkzeugbau GmbH.

However, the start of the cooperation between the Volkswagen subsidiary Bugatti and the SLM Solutions Group AG dates back to the design, calculation and later production of a bionically optimized front axle differential housing at the turn of the year 2014/2015.

Incidentally, that front axle differential housing was manufactured by Audi AG at its company locations in Ingolstadt and Györ on SLM®280 machines, with the objective of comparing the influencing factors of varying locations in regard to component quality.


How will the cooperation grow? Frank Götzke and Ralf Frohwerk have already given a clear answer to this question at the past Formnext in Frankfurt am Main. The SLM Solutions booth featured eight Bugatti W16 cylinder head covers to be admired as production studies, which were created in just one single construction job on an SLM 800 – with each hood measuring 285 mm wide and 65 mm thick while growing 735mm tall.

Stress-free welding, bending and cutting

Parts leveler can "stress relieve" metals for downstream processes

Parts leveling can't free you from the stress caused by a missed shipping date, but it can relieve your production frustrations caused by metal components loaded with internal stresses that are released during welding, laser cutting, punching or bending.

High speed machining of Mathews bow quiver components

High speed machining of Mathews bow quiver components on a Makino 51nx horizontal machining centre.

Machine tool suppliers hold 14th Joint Open House 2019

Hundreds of manufacturers attended the 14th annual machine tool distributors' Joint Open House in southwestern Ontario in April.

Cutting it down to size

by Kip Hanson

Machining small parts takes big precision and plenty of know-how

This tiny drone with a tiny brain is smart enough to fly itself

Engineers in Europe have built the world’s smallest autonomous rotor drone equipped with a neural network running on just 1/100th of a watt.

Canada's Gold

by Andrew Brooks

Canada’s mining industry has its ups and downs, but a positive value proposition will always bring work

Linda Hasenfratz up for entrepreneur award

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corp., Guelph, ON, is among 65 people competing for a world entrepreneur award. The winner of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year will be announced on June 6 in Monaco, the event's location.

Canadian government invests $7 M in electric vehicles

The Canadian government was to expand the number of zero emission vehicles in Canada and it's investing up to $7 million to develop advanced electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

Boeing forecasts US$9 trillion aerospace market

Boeing has released its forecast for the commercial, defence and space aerospace market over the next decade.

Ontario gives Sheridan College $550k for skills training

Sheridan’s Davis Campus has been handed $559,837 in funding from the province for its Pre-Apprenticeship Programs.

Canadian economy on upswing; challenges remain

The Canadian economy is on course for sustainable, balanced growth, following a setback caused by the drop in oil prices, but it continues to face challenges, according to Stephen S. Poloz, Bank of Canada governor, who spoke to the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce on May 19.

Electric pipe bending machine boosts fabricating efficiency

A large bore hydrualic part maker has improved production efficiency and accuracy using an all electric pipe bending machine

Frank Mohn Piping in Frekhaug, Norway, installed the custom pipe bender from Unison to help improve fabricating through-put and accuracy. According to Unison, the all electric machine is the most powerful pipe bender it has delivered to a custoemr to date. 

Ontario vs. Michigan: How to catch up

A new study from The Fraser Institute says Ontario’s manufacturing sector could take a growth lesson from its close U.S. neighbour Michigan.

Hypertherm named world's most ethical company

Hypertherm, a manufacturer of plasma, laser, and waterjet cutting systems, has been named the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute.

Embracing Big

by Kip Hanson

There’s a wealth of data sitting on the factory floor, information that can make your shop faster, smarter, and far more profitable. Are you capturing it? 

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn