The hypercar brand from the Volkswagen group has been seeking to set many firsts. Now it has announced a technology leap that is of interest to other performance brands as well. The Chiron manufacturer has reportedly manufactured the first 3D printed Titanium brake caliper, making it the first of its kind and also the largest brake caliper.
The eight-piston caliper is modelled on that used on the Chiron’s front wheels, but uses a Titanium alloy Ti6AI4V, instead of the aluminium alloy on the production car. The new unit is significantly stronger (able to withstand 125kgs of force per square millimeter) and a lot lighter than the aluminium component, shaving 2 kgs off the original 4.9kgs.
“Vehicle development is a never-ending process. This is particularly true at Bugatti,” says 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.”
“As our performance data are often at the physical limits, we are especially demanding,” adds the 48-year-old machine tool and production technician, who holds a degree in engineering. “This is why Bugatti always goes at least one step further than other manufacturers in the development of technical solutions.”
Titanium presents unique problems in traditional methods of forging and milling due to its strength. The breakthrough in 3D printing now makes it possible to construct elaborate and complex structures. The technology partner is Laser Zentrum Nord at Hamburg. The special 3-D printer at Laser Zentrum Nord, which was the largest printer in the world suitable for titanium at the start of the project, is equipped with four 400-watt lasers.
It takes 45 hours to print each caliper, through a process of layer by layer deposition of titanium powder, which is then melted by using the four lasers. The final caliper then goes through further heat treatment, smoothing and then milling on a five-axis milling machine.