The potential of 3D printing in the automotive industry has been discussed and written for a long time. The possibility of reducing costs, optimization of geometry and savings in operation are the flagship advantages of implementing 3D printing technology as a production method. Porsche is a great example of a company that successfully implements 3D printing in more and more advanced applications.
In July this year, the brand owned by the German concern announced that it was participating in the additive production project of engine pistons in one of its flagship sports cars – the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. It is true that this is not the first time that Porsche has decided to use 3D printing, but the use of additive technologies in such a key element as the engine proves a deep understanding of the technology, but also confidence in it.
Now Porsche, in cooperation with SLM Solutions, implemented a 3D printing project of a prototype of the electric drive housing, created by Porsche. The 3D printing was made using the NXG XII 600 metal powder 3D printing system. The new device in the SLM Solutions portfolio sets new standards for additive manufacturing from metals in terms of productivity, size and reliability. The printed housing in cooperation with the German manufacturer of luxury cars is one of the examples of the machine’s capabilities.
NXG XII 600 is equipped with 12 lasers with a power of 1kW, it has a working space of 600 x 600 x 600 mm. This enables the production of large-size parts with a layer thickness of up to 120 µm. By applying a number of improvements to the laser and the gas flow in the working chamber, the manufacturers managed to increase the efficiency of work, while maintaining the full safety of the operator. Porsche was one of the first companies that could check to what extent the manufacturer’s promises were reflected in reality.
Porsche engineers decided to 3D print the prototype of the cover of the innovative electric drive, equipped with magnetic motors with an operating voltage of 800 V, which generates power up to 205 kW (280 HP). The housing geometry has been optimized to reduce weight while maintaining the desired mechanical properties. A system of cooling channels, possible only in 3D printing technology, was also designed and the time of subsequent assembly was shortened by integrating some of the parts. The execution time for the element with dimensions of 590 x 560 x 367 mm was only 21 hours.