Since the 20’s, avant garde styling and thinking has always been the hallmark of Bugatti. Now the Development Department of the French luxury brand has achieved a new coup. For the first time, the Bugatti developers have succeeded in designing a brake caliper that can be produced by 3-D printing.
But that’s not all. While the main material used for the additive production of vehicle components to date has been aluminum, the new Bugatti Chiron brake caliper is made from titanium.
An innovator in automotive production, Bugatti seems unwilling to just be a super sports car brand and looks toward space age technology to expand what it undoubtedly feels is the future of car production. With this step, Bugatti has developed the world’s largest functional component produced by additive manufacturing.
It takes a total of 45 hours to print a brake caliper. During this time, titanium powder is deposited layer by layer. With each layer, the four lasers melt the titanium powder into the shape defined for the brake caliper. The material cools immediately and the brake caliper takes shape.
This particular titanium alloy, with the scientific designation of Ti6AI4V, is mainly used in the aerospace industry, for example for highly stressed undercarriage and wing components or in aircraft and rocket engines.
With eight pistons, the brake caliper is not only the largest caliper in the automotive world, but the first to use titanium, in an extremely complex and challenging process.
To date, this approach was not feasible because it is extremely difficult or even impossible to mill or forge components from a titanium block as is normal practice with aluminum due to the extremely high strength of the material. This problem has now been solved using an ultra high-performance 3-D printer, which also opens up the possibility of generating even more complex structures which are significantly stiffer and stronger than would be possible with any conventional production process.
Bugatti already uses the most powerful brakes in the world on the Chiron. The brake calipers are an entirely new development, and Bugatti will begin testing them in the fall of 2018, and will undoubtedly find their way onto Bugatti automobiles within a very short time.
“As our performance data are often at the physical limits, we are especially demanding,” … “this is why Bugatti always goes at least one step further than other manufacturers in the development of technical solutions”, says Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies for Bugatti.
Hinting at what’s just around the corner, Götzke concludes by saying…“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.”
While vehicle development is a never-ending process, the pace of automotive manufacturing continues to amaze. Elon Musk would be proud…
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Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications.
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