EOS – a German manufacturer of industrial 3D printers of the SLS and DMLS type, and Sauber Technologies – a Swiss company derived from the Sauber F1 Team, have announced the signing of a three-year cooperation agreement in the field of 3D printing technology. The deal was announced last weekend at the F1 Grand Prix in Barcelona, Spain. The cooperation includes the installation of a new SLS system – EOS P500 for the production of polymer parts.
The partnership will initially focus on optimizing the production of aerodynamic spoilers, racing car end parts and production tools. Both companies bring their many years of industry experience to the partnership, and their common goal is to expand the use of 3D printing in motorsport and more.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (Sauber F1) and Sauber Technologies previously worked with Additive Industries to produce additive metal parts and with 3D Systems using photopolymer SLA technology for prototyping. Sauber will now install the EOS P500, allowing the application to scale to series production, with the option to include automation solutions. Initially, the company will use Polyamide 12 PA 2200.
In Formula 1, innovation cycles are extremely short, requiring the rapid production of different parts variants. Competitive pressure is high, and at the same time, the racing industry requires innovative and often atypical designs that need to be inherently faster, lighter and safer. 3D printing is an ideal solution for short development and production cycles. The technology allows for a simplified implementation of lightweight structures and functional integration, while drastically reducing lead times and enabling faster iterations.
The EOS P 500 has a development rate that is twice as fast as the fastest laser sintering system currently available in the polymer sector (EOS P 396). It has two powerful 70-watt lasers to precisely inject energy into the powder while melting the material. Unlike previous EOS systems, the EOS P 500 brings the material to the optimal processing temperature prior to application, thus reducing the time required for recoating and exposure.
Pre-heating and cooling of the removable frame (with 3D-printed part) after production is optional outside the EOS P 500. Consequently, the new production process can be started just fifteen minutes after construction is complete. The system requires less cleaning and servicing only once a year, making the EOS P 500 up to 75 percent more uptime than previous competitor systems and models.
The system can be seamlessly integrated with existing MES / ERP systems and at the same time includes a range of solutions for process monitoring and system integration. This enables quality assurance on an industrial scale by evaluating extensive sensors and measurement data from cameras (optical and thermal).