Luxury car maker Bugatti is making an advanced step in automotive technology by using 3D printing to produce their titanium tailpipe trim covers.
And they are using this production process to their hyper sports cars Chiron Pur Sport 1 and Chiron Super Sport 300+1.
3D printing, according to the company, is "as fine and accurate as a spider's web, yet as stable as a solid steel structure and extremely light". Originally used in the aerospace industry, Bugatti is the only company in the automotive industry to use 3D printing in its hypersports cars.
"The advantage of the 3D printing process lies in the geometric shapes that are possible. It is possible to create very finely wrought, complex forms which would tear if made using other techniques such as forging or forming," says Nils Weimann, Head of Body Development at Bugatti.
"This is an ideal production method for Bugatti: there are no tool costs, production is comparatively fast and individual adjustments to the shape are easily possible. As a result, organic geometries can be developed as if from the world of plants--there are virtually no limits," he added.
Bugatti specifically uses 3D printing to produce tailpipe trim covers made of titanium for its newly-developed hyper sports cars. The cover is the first visible part to be 3D-printed in metal that is officially approved for use on the roads.
The approximately 22-centimeter long, 48-centimeter wide and 13-centimeter high trim cover at the rear of the Chiron Pur Sport weighs just 1.85 kilograms, including the grille and bracket, which is 1.2 kilograms less than the cover on the Chiron2.
"Wherever possible we designed the trim cover for the Chiron Pur Sport with a single layer so as to further reduce weight," says Weimann.
"The minimal material thickness in multi-layer areas is made possible by its so-called lattice structure, where the cavity is filled with numerous filigree struts. In this way, the walls provide stable support for each other during the construction process, enabling minimal use of material. We use a bionic honeycomb structure in the single-layer area to increase the surface rigidity of the walls. Even large components gain a high degree of surface stiffness," he explains.
This isn't the first time that Bugatti is creating parts using 3D printing. The company's engineers have already been using it to produce special trim covers for Chiron Sport2 and Divo1 since 2018. The 2019 editions "La Voiture Noire1" and the Centodieci1 also used this technology.
The material Inconel® 718, which is often used in gas turbines, aircraft turbine blades, space ships and transport rocket engines, is used to produce a 53-centimetre wide and 22-centimetre long trim cover for the Chiron Sport. This type of material is heat-resistant, hard and light nickel-chrome alloy.
Indeed, Bugatti is continuing a long-standing tradition here: the company founder Ettore Bugatti himself developed unique vehicles using groundbreaking technologies, such as lightweight aluminium wheels and a hollow front axle. Now, it's 3D printing.
"Bugatti is all about French-style luxury and exceptional vehicles, but it's a brand that stands for innovative technology, too," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti.
"In addition to the iconic 8.0 litre 16-cylinder engine with 1,500 PS, technical innovation is just as much part of our brand essence, such as our components made of titanium or a special alloy that are produced by 3D printing."