EOS and Sauber sign F1 additive manufacturing partnership

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AM Chronicle Editor

Industrial 3D printing supplier EOS and Sauber Technologies, a subsidiary of the motorsport and Formula One company Sauber, has signed a three-year additive manufacturing (AM) technology partnership.

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The partnership will initially focus on the constant optimisation and manufacturing of aerodynamic spoiler designs, end-use parts for race cars and production aids. Both companies are bringing their respective longstanding industry expertise to the partnership – with the aim of jointly expanding the use of AM in motorsports and beyond.

In Formula One, innovation cycles are extremely short, requiring variants of a part to be adjusted and manufactured quickly. The competitive pressure is high. At the same time, the racing industry demands innovative and often unusual designs that meet the guiding principles of faster, lighter and safer.

Here, AM is an ideal enabler of short development and production cycles. The technology permits a simplified implementation of lightweight structures as well as functional integration, at the same time drastically reducing lead time and enabling faster iterations.

Markus Glasser, senior vice president EMEA at EOS commented: “We see AM applications in F1 for both prototyping and serial production where reproducible part quality is key. Together with Sauber we are aiming to set new benchmarks here. With more serial AM applications in F1, automation will be essential too, enabling higher productivity and reduced costs per part. Sauber is the first customer for polymer-based AM, integrating this into its production, including the installation of an EOS P 500 system.”

Christoph Hansen, COO Sauber Technologies, added: “EOS and Sauber share the same passion for application-driven design and the highest quality standards, which we want to offer in motorsports and beyond. EOS’s company culture is a perfect fit for us, which is why we decided to enter this partnership. From a technology perspective, we co-operate with EOS because its ecosystem of partners and sister companies not only enables the end-to-end solutions we need, including automation, but provides us with highly custom solutions via AMCM (Additive Manufacturing Customised Machines).”

Sauber will be installing an EOS P 500 system in 2022, enabling the company to scale up applications towards serial production in the future, with an option to include automation solutions. It will initially use the Polyamide 12 PA 2200 material.

The EOS P 500 has a build rate twice as fast as the fastest laser-sintering system currently available in the polymer sector (EOS P 396). It has two powerful 70-watt lasers for precise energy input into the powder during material melting. Unlike previous EOS systems, the EOS P 500 brings the material to optimum processing temperature before application, thus shortening the time required for recoating and exposure.

Preheating and cooling of the interchangeable frame (with the 3D printed part) after production optionally takes place outside the EOS P 500. As such, a new production process can be started just fifteen minutes after completing a build job. The system needs to be cleaned less frequently and serviced only once a year, so the uptime of the EOS P 500 is up to 75 percent higher, compared with predecessor systems and competitor models.

The system can be seamlessly integrated into existing MES/ERP systems and at the same time includes a range of solutions for process monitoring and system integration. This enables quality assurance on an industrial scale by evaluating extensive sensors as well as camera-based measurement data (optical and thermal).

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