Stratasys Shift into additive manufacturing
Prototypes that would take weeks can now be completed in hours. BAC explains the impact of additive manufacturing on the production process.
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), the British manufacturer of the recently launched Mono R and Stratasys revealed the impact additive manufacturing is having on the design and production of the latest edition to the BAC elite supercar offering. When faced with detrimental delays to the design process of an essential airbox, the team turned to Stratasys FDM additive manufacturing to produce fully functional prototypes.
Mono R weighs just 555 kg and is the first production car in the world to incorporate the use of graphene-enhanced carbon fibre in every body panel. One such challenge was the design and testing of the Mono R’s air intake. Essential for the car’s cooling and on-road performance, the airbox has an extremely complex and unique geometry, with the final part needing to be produced entirely in carbon fibre. Such rigorous demands meant that the production of a prototype using traditional methods presented a huge hurdle for the team.
“The lead time to produce one prototype of the airbox using traditional machining methods surpassed two weeks. If there were any problems with the prototype produced, then any design iterations would add double that amount of time. This was a delay we just couldn’t afford,” Ian Briggs, BAC Design Director, explains.
The team at BAC turned to additive manufacturing as the solution and sought the help of Stratasys and it’s UK platinum partner, Tri Tech 3D. Using the Stratasys F900 Production 3D Printer the team produced the airbox in just a few hours, which was then fitted to the car and put through its paces to assess the parts design and performance.
“Access to the carbon-fibre reinforced Nylon 12CF was integral for this development process. The prototype was as close performance- wise as if we had produced the prototype in carbon-fibre reinforced plastic made from a mould. It also withstood the tests on the track with ease,” explains Briggs.
Today, the team at BAC has shifted its mindset to design with additive manufacturing in mind.
“The development of the Mono R needed ultimate precision, something to which additive manufacturing lends itself perfectly. This is just the beginning for BAC in discovering what additive manufacturing can offer us as a design team, and how we can continue to push the boundaries of our industry,” concludes Briggs.