Summary | Ricoh 3D used additive manufacturing to create lightweight cooling housing for eMotorsports Cologne’s racing car.
The problem | eMotorsports Cologne are a university team racing in the ultra-competitive Formula Student championship. Every second counts on race day, so the team enlisted the help of Ricoh 3D to look at which parts of the car could be improved by harnessing the capabilities of additive manufacturing.
The solution | 3D printing is now used extensively in elite motorsports. Indeed, in the 2019 Formula 1 season, all 10 of the constructor teams used additive manufacturing to produce parts for their cars.
It’s easy to see why the technology is increasingly integral to motorsport. Teams can quickly create a prototype part, test it, modify it – and then use 3D printing to produce the final part in the same material. Often it comes down to weight and the simple premise that the lighter the car is, the faster it can go.
eMotorsports Cologne were keen to use 3D technology to improve their own eMC18 Umicore EvoLoup e-racing car to give them the edge in Formula Student. The Ricoh team recommended Nylon 6 with glass bead (PA6 GB) given its much greater heat and impact resistance to Nylon 12 and Polypropylene. The material is commonly used across the automotive sector, particularly for under-bonnet components where resistance to high temperature oils and fluids is crucial. Ricoh’s own Selective Laser Sintering system is one of the largest on the market that is able to print in PA6 GB.
Each year, Formula Student sees over 100 university teams from around the globe travel to Silverstone to compete in static and dynamic events that test engineering skills. Students are challenged to design and fabricate a single seat race car which is judged on a number of categories, including acceleration, cost, manufacturing analysis, design, electrical efficiency and endurance.
The design of the cooling housings for the four-wheel hub motors followed consultations between the racing team and Ricoh 3D, resulting in a heat-resistant yet ultra-light final product. which helped improve the overall efficiency of the cooling system.
Alexander Lerch, Team Leader at eMotorsports Cologne, said: “We are delighted to have an innovator like Ricoh partner with us to pave the way for highly efficient cooling technology for our eMC18.
“With Ricoh’s pioneering 3D technology, the final cooling housings can be manufactured in such a way that they are not only extremely heat-resistant but also very lightweight.”
Ingo Wittrock, Marketing Director at Ricoh Germany, said: “Additive manufacturing is a strategically important future market for Ricoh in which we are investing today.
“Our Ricoh 3D facilities help companies respond to ever-evolving business challenges and develop prototypes quickly. We are pleased that we can also support the university team eMotorsports Cologne with our technology and services and wish the team every success in the competitions.”