SZEngine is a team of students that designs and develops racing engines for teams taking part in Formula Student, an international racing series in which students develop, construct and then race their own cars. SZEngine has now succeeded in producing a complete engine using selective laser melting. They did so using the SLM® machine at the Motor Manufacturing Centre (MAC) of Audi Hungaria.
Selective laser melting is one of the key technologies for the production of functional prototypes, series parts and components in various industries. As well as enabling unprecedented design freedom, additive manufacturing also makes it possible to produce lightweight components. This is a huge advantage in the automotive industry. The SLM®280 2.0 features a build envelope of 280 x 280 x 365 mm3 and patented multi-beam technology. It can be used to produce metallic components for series and custom production with individual parameters.
As a pilot project, they began by printing the timing side of the crankcase. As the component was designed for conventional processing and therefore required too many support structures, the team decided to digitally redesign the component to make it suitable for 3D printing. This task fell to Dániel Kővári, who was the crankcase designer in the SZEngine team at the time.
In order to be able to call the engine a “3D-printed engine”, the team subsequently redesigned all of the other main engine components. In total, nine engine components were produced using SLM® technology. These included the two-part crankcase, the cylinder, the cylinder head and cylinder head cover, as well as the covers for the clutch, timing belt, oil filter and oil pump.
After production on the SLM® machine, the components were then mechanically processed and measured at the Motor Manufacturing Centre (MAC). After being tested both individually and then together on the SZEngine team’s test bench, the engine was installed in the team’s test car.
The project began in 2016 when Zoltán Dudás, a 3D metal printing specialist at Audi Hungaria, was instructed to print a fully functioning engine using the SLM®280. At the time, the SZEngine team had already asked the MAC about a cooperation to mill engine parts.
Dudás decided to combine the two projects, and allowed the student team to not just mill the components, but print them from scratch with the SLM®280.
Dudás is not the only one thrilled with the results. Ralf Frohwerk, Global Head of Business Development at SLM Solutions, is also pleased with the groundbreaking project: “Every day, our customers are placing greater trust in SLM® technology. This impressive project from SZEngine and Audi Hungaria in Győr clearly shows that metal-based 3D printing is not just suitable for prototypes, but can also be successfully used for series production, especially small batches. The customer’s experience in component design for 3D printing shows how additive manufacturing can enable improvements both in terms of function and performance.
Lübeck-based SLM Solutions Group AG is a leading provider of metal-based additive manufacturing technology. The company’s shares are traded in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The stock has been listed in the TecDAX index since March 21, 2016. SLM Solutions focuses on the development, assembly and sale of machines and integrated system solutions in the field of selective laser melting. SLM Solutions currently employs over 400 members of staff in Germany, the USA, Singapore, Russia, India and China. The products are utilised worldwide by customers in particular from the aerospace, energy, healthcare and automotive industries.
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