3D printing, titanium and carbon fiber: the rims for supercar of the future
The three – dimensional printing is revolutionizing the world. This new technology capable of creating complete parts through additive processes opens the doors to a new path for the manufacture of parts and components that is beginning to be applied to the automotive industry with more than promising results.
After Porsche uses this technology to create parts of its classic models , now the specialist tire manufacturing HRE has begun to experiment with 3D printing and its first creation are a revolutionary rims made of titanium powder and carbon fiber .
Taking as a model an elegant McLaren P1 , HRE has created the first tire printed in 3D in close collaboration with GE Additive. The technique used is called Electron Beam Melting (EBM) and layer by layer is fusing the structure designed in a special titanium powder.
It should also be noted the efficiency of this new technology since when the process has been completed and the excess left around the final piece is removed, only 5% of the raw material is wasted , while in the manufacture of a tire Machined aluminum 80% of the block is thrown away.
This difference is vital for HRE. According to Alan Peltier , president of HRE, titanium is the holy grail of tires because it is more resistant, lighter and more resistant to corrosion than aluminum, but its cost is much more expensive, which now prevented its use.
The finishes are still not perfect and require the use of CNC machinery to eliminate the surplus and a small processing by hand to finish the final finish, but HRE ensures that in the not too distant future the process will be so fine that the pieces will be almost finished of the addition machine.
The five pieces of titanium are joined with a center of the same material and are attached to a sturdy carbon fiber ring with titanium screws on which the tire is mounted. The result is a seven-piece rim with a futuristic appearance in which the structural strength of a conventional rim with a much lower weight is equaled or exceeded.