Innovative pistons from a 3D printer for increased power and efficiency
In cooperation with its partners Mahle and Trumpf, Porsche is 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 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. “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.
Building up parts layer by layer permits realisation of new and improved designs
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. 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. 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 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. 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.
Jul 14, 2020 at 08:00