Our customers come to us often looking to see whether Additive Manufacturing can replace existing technologies and methods for a variety of reasons such as cost, weight reduction, speed, a more sustainable/less waste process or to improve the performance of the part.
An example of such a challenge is how do we produce a key cooling system component to short lead times and exacting specifications at a competitive price? Many endurance racing parts are produced each winter for car builds with limited time and opportunities for development and testing.
With this Thermostat housing the current process was manufacturing by CNC machining and the main reason to use AM for this application is to get rid of some constraints related to machining (like undercuts) and allow for a better routing of the water flow reducing the pressure drop across the thermostat.
Our customer had very tight deadlines to work with, so we immediately got to work with an initial consultation to get requirements and CAD data fast from the customer so we could confirm if AM was feasible and the best method. Then came fast collaborations with our supply chain to ensure the customers challenging delivery dates and requirements were met.
We found that for the part build AM was the right choice, we still needed other conventional methods to complete the job. A multi-process approach was decided, starting with SLM Additive Manufacturing in aluminium AlSi10Mg, with heat treatment, sandblasting, anodising, finishing with CNC machining for precision holes, threads & groove detailing.
As this was a development part likely to change after first off parts were produced AM was clearly the right choice – CNC machining may have been more cost viable on 4+ parts.
The part was successfully delivered on time for the car build. There were however further benefits found with the ability to adapt a standard part (the thermostatic valve) to required application and installation, along with reductions in cost and complexity. The part ultimately passed its endurance test at the 24 hours of Le Mans with a podium position.
Housing of the water thermostat, part of the cooling system on the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) 007C Le Mans Hypercar (LMH)
The 3D Consultancy are an engineering led design and manufacturing consultancy providing technical solutions utilising CAD digital processes, advanced 3D printing/additive manufacturing, and 3D scanning.
If you have a technical challenge with very tight deadlines that require exacting specifications and an agile working approach to achieve results, then give us a call on 0203 092 4429 or send us an email email@example.com or visit our website for more information.