Additive Manufacturing Accelerates Racing Car Development
By using additive manufacturing, McLaren-Honda racing team’s engineers can now accelerate their development cycles. To do this, they have won Stratasys’ support: as part of a four-year partnership agreed in January, the company is equipping the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Britain, with its latest 3D printers using FDM and PolyJet technologies. McLaren therefore sees the promise of shorter lead times in part production and the possibility to manufacture more complex components.
In addition to final vehicle components, the team also uses the new printers for making moulds for carbon fibre-reinforced parts or for producing cutting devices. Using the new manufacturing resources, the development time can be considerably reduced according to Development Director Neil Oatley. Some parts that had previously required two or three weeks to produce could now be developed, tested and produced within a week, and they would already be available for the following race.
McLaren brings 3D printers to the race track
The Formula 1 team plans to always deploy 3D printers at the race track. Design changes can then be planned on specific components on site, implemented using a 3D printer, and mounted and tested on the race car within hours.
Andy Middleton, President, Stratasys EMEA, considers Formula 1 to be an ideal application field for additive manufacturing processes. The demands on production time and quality are so high that Stratasys can also offer its own processes easily in the automotive industry after successful testing by McLaren.