Bugatti has created a brake caliper that can be manufactured entirely by 3D printing.
French luxury sports car manufacturer Bugatti has always been at the forefront of automotive technology, but their latest advancement is set to put them, and parent company Volkswagen, at the forefront of manufacturing technology as well.
For the first time, Bugatti has created a functional brake caliper using 3D printing that is made completely out of titanium. This is the first time ever a functional component has been 3D printed using titanium.
Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies in the Technical Development Department of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., says that technological innovation at Buggati is a never-ending process. “In our continuing development efforts, we are always considering how new materials and processes can be used to make our current model even better and how future vehicles of our brand could be designed.”
Titanium is an incredibly hard, durable material that is typically used in high heat, high-pressure environments. It’s the same stuff the Russians use to make their submarine hulls, allowing them to reach depths that would normally crush any other nation’s submersibles.
Bugatti uses titanium in their brake calipers to stop their series of insane hypercars from speeds very few automobiles can achieve. Most modern family cars have brake calipers made out of steel or aluminum, which are vastly cheaper and “good enough”.
Of course, when you’re selling million dollar cars like Bugatti, only the best will suffice.
“Cooperation with Bugatti is a key lighthouse project for us,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Claus Emmelmann of the Laser Zentrum institute. “We were thrilled to be contacted by Bugatti. I do not know any other carmaker which makes such extreme demands of its products. We were pleased to face up to this challenge.”
The technology is pioneered in conjunction with Laser Zentrum Nord of Hamburg, a German institute that is part of the Fraunhofer research organization. The institute is a pioneer in using lasers to create 3D printing technology, also known as “additive material fabrication”. German researchers are at the forefront of this technology, with Volkswagen set to revolutionize the car manufacturing industry with this latest discovery.
Vehicle trials for the brake calipers are set to begin soon, with the company reporting it will happen in the first half of 2018.