French car manufacturer Bugatti has developed a new titanium brake caliper manufactured using 3D-printing technology.
Working with Hamburg-based Laser Zentrum Nord, the feat becomes the world’s largest of its kind – establishing the role 3D-printing and additive manufacturing can offer the automotive industry.
Vehicle trials for the use of the component are due to start in the first half of the year.
“Vehicle development is a never-ending process. This is particularly true at Bugatti,” said Frank Götzke, head of New Technologies in the Technical Development Department of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
“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.”
The breakthrough means Bugatti is seeking to replicate the process for component used in the aerospace industry, including rocket engines.
The 3D printer at Laser Zentrum Nord – the largest printer in the world suitable for titanium at the start of the project – is equipped with four 400-watt lasers.
It takes a total of 45 hours to print a brake caliper and, during this time, titanium powder is deposited layer by layer.
“In terms of volume, this is the largest functional component produced from titanium by additive manufacturing methods,” Götzke continued.
“Technically, this is an extremely impressive brake caliper, and it also looks great.”