At the highest levels of motorsports competition, speed is king, both on the track and behind the scenes. Unlike the maximized production volume and long design cycles of consumer automotive manufacturing, Formula 1 race teams must create and produce complicated parts between races and even overnight. Traditional production cycles and manufacturing processes cannot keep up with the demands of the sport, but Additive Manufacturing (AM) can revolutionize the process.
For Formula 1 teams, AM has become integral to quick but precise production of parts such as turbochargers, replacing time-consuming methods with rapid part-design and prototyping. The consumer automotive industry uses sand or high-pressure die casting to make these parts, with design steps completed long before production. Motorsports teams cannot afford to wait for suppliers to build mold after mold so they can test and finesse turbocharger functionality. With turnkey AM systems from GF Machining Solutions, race shops can design and produce turbochargers in a single digital workflow.
Turbochargers supply an enriched, compressed mixture of air and fuel into the combustion chamber of an engine, heightening power or torque. On the track, these devices include complex internal features and surfaces that casting struggles to produce – and closed cavities that molds and post processing simply cannot create.
Software, Tooling, Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing excels at these types of tasks and part features. GF Machining Solutions has leveraged its extensive technology portfolio to create a truly end-to-end AM production methodology that saves manufacturers time and money while it revolutionizes their production cycles. This turnkey system draws on software, tooling, additive and subtractive manufacturing, all developed by or with GF Machining Solutions.
A single software environment created with 3DXpert™ and Cimatron handles part design, build and CNC preparation, in-process inspection and part validation. The Cimatron software bundle includes CAD/CAM for part design and milling toolpath development, and works seamlessly with 3DXpert to manage data integrity. It also handles the milling tasks that remove supports for metal AM. 3DXpert tools simplify part programming for metal AM, automatically applying AM-specific structures, geometries and print strategies. Software simulation helps identify and rule out potential problems, including stress accumulation or elevated displacement.
GF Machining Solutions created industry-leading selective laser sintering technology for its Direct Metal Printing (DMP) series of machines. Designed for simplicity and speed, the DMP Flex 350 metal AM machine acts as the center of the turbocharger workflow. High printer utilization and a consistently low-oxygen environment (fewer than 25 parts per million), as well as fast, bidirectional material deposition, make it easy to achieve outstanding AM throughput.
The DMP software suite uses powder-bed images and meltpool data to identify defects such as warping, poor fusion, rough surfaces or recoating errors, track their root causes and correct them within 3DXpert. This enables shops to minimize the costs of post-build processing and part validation while they prepare data for toolpath generation.
Most additive processes require operators to remove AM support structures manually, but the unified GF Machining Solutions system handles this step automatically during post-processing. The CUT AM 500 removes AM parts from their build plates with a unique tilting table that reorients AM parts for a horizontal-wire EDM process. The system integrates with an automation-ready clamping system, virtually eliminating the risk of part damage.
The MILL E 700 U high-performance milling machine performs post-build machining on a full 5-axis platform that's ideal for complex parts. This high-value, efficient solution uses large guideways, a double-side-supported direct drive rotary table and optimal chip removal rates to handle a wide range of milling applications. These features, along with advanced milling strategies through Cimatron and flexible, automation-ready design, make it an ideal machine for post processing of demanding AM parts.
System 3R Tooling
For palletized automation throughout the additive and subtractive workflow, System 3R tooling – the Delphin TableTop Chuck, AMCarrier and BuildPal – preserves reference points and alignments from machine to machine to ensure full additive scalability and easy access to automation.
Through System 3R, the BuildPal and AMCarrier system connects every machine in the GF additive workflow, with thin build plates and a clever design to maximize print area. At the same time, it integrates easily with other System 3R automation for even greater productivity and post-processing speed.
Manufacturers who serve the motorsports industry need speedy performance to produce high-performance components on a competitive schedule. As part of an end-to-end manufacturing solution, 3D metal printing reduces the production time and cost of critical parts such as F1 turbocharger housings.
As increasing numbers of high-end automotive manufacturers integrate this technology, many partner with GF Machining Solutions for fast, reliable results. From industry-leading design and production software to the additive, milling and EDM equipment required for part production excellence – and the turnkey AM workflow that links it all together – GF Machining Solutions can provide everything that automotive manufacturers need for additive success.