Cooperation: Porsche develops new application for 3D printing together with Mahle and Trumpf

Cooperation: Porsche develops new application for 3D printing together with Mahle and Trumpf

Innovative pistons from a 3D printer for increased power and efficiency

3D printing technology is already used at Porsche in prototype construction, manufacturing spare parts for classic sports cars as well as in other areas. In cooperation with its partners Mahle and Trumpf, the sports car manufacturer is now establishing a new milestone in the use of additive manufacturing processes for highly-stressed drive components – for the first time, the pistons for the high-performance engine of the 911 flagship model, the GT2 RS, are now also being produced with a 3D printer.

3D printing allows the pistons to be manufactured with a structure that is optimised for the loads acting on the pistons. As a result, the pistons from the advance development project weigh ten percent less than the forged series production pistons. They also have an integrated and closed cooling duct in the piston crown that could not have been produced by conventional methods. “Thanks to the new, lighter pistons, we can increase the engine speed, lower the temperature load on the pistons and optimise combustion,” explains Frank Ickinger from the advance drive development department at Porsche. “This makes it possible to get up to 30 PS more power from the 700 PS biturbo engine, while at the same time improving efficiency.”

Building up parts layer by layer permits realisation of new and improved designs

There are a number of different technologies for 3D printing. All are based on the principle that the components are built up layer by layer without the need to previously manufacture a special tool or mould. Practically any geometric shape can therefore be realised. The printer can be fed with the design data directly from the computer. Additive manufacturing processes are thus ideal for producing structures that have been designed and optimised by means of artificial intelligence (AI). The pistons of the 911 GT2 RS were manufactured from high-purity metal powder using the laser metal fusion process (LMF). Here, a laser beam heats and melts the powder surface corresponding to the part contour. Porsche initiated the joint project together with cooperation partners Mahle and Trumpf. The quality and performance capability of the components were validated using measurement technology from Zeiss.

Wide application field and new potential uses for 3D printing at Porsche

Porsche already uses additive manufacturing processes in several areas. For example, a 3D-printed bodyform full bucket seat has been available since May for the model series 911 and 718. Here, the central section of the seat, in other words the cushion and backrest surfaces, is partly produced by a 3D printer. Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium, soft) for the comfort layer in future. Porsche Classic also uses additive processes to reproduce plastic, steel and alloy spare parts that were previously no longer available. A release lever for the clutch of the Porsche 959, for example, today comes from a 3D printer. Around 20 reproduced parts for Porsche classic models are currently manufactured using additive processes. This manufacturing technology is also technically and economically interesting for Porsche for special and small series as well as motorsports. 3D printing therefore offers significant potential for Porsche with regard to product and process innovations, which will in turn allow customers to benefit from fascinating and individual products.

Contact us
About Porsche

Group profile

In existence since 1805, and across family generations, D’Ieteren seeks growth and value creation by pursuing a strategy on the long term for its businesses and actively encouraging and supporting them to develop their position in their industry or in their geographies. The Group has currently three activities articulated around strong brands:

 

D'Ieteren Auto distributes Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche and Yamaha vehicles in Belgium. It is the country's number one car distributor, with a market share of around 21% and 1.2 million vehicles on the road. Sales and adjusted operating result reached respectively EUR 3.4 billion and EUR 113.0 million in 2018.

 

Belron (54.10% owned) has a clear purpose: “making a difference by solving people’s problems with real care”. It is the worldwide leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement and operates in 35 countries, through wholly owned businesses and franchises, with market leading brands – including Carglass®, Safelite® and Autoglass®. In addition, Belron manages vehicle glass and other insurance claims on behalf of insurance customers. It has also expanded its services into the automotive damage and home damage repair and replacement markets. Sales and adjusted operating result reached respectively EUR 3.8 billion and EUR 225.7 million in FY 2018.

 

Moleskine (100% owned) is a premium and aspirational lifestyle brand which develops and sells iconic branded notebooks and writing, travel and reading accessories through a multichannel distribution strategy across more than 115 countries. Sales and operating result reached respectively EUR 174.1 million and EUR 28.6 million in FY 2018.

Porsche
Grand'route | Grote baan 395
1620 Drogenbos