Thanks to Stratasys, 3D printing is on the winning side in the motorsports industry this week — and here to stay, making quite the impression among racing enthusiasts along the way.
With the accolade of ‘Motorsport Technology of the Year,’ Stratasys was chosen by Professional Motorsport Magazine as winner in their category. The trophy was presented at a gala dinner at this year’s Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards in Cologne, Germany on November 13th. With about 800 people in attendance, Expo officials gave a great deal of attention to the 3D technology employed by Stratasys, pointing out that ‘the implications and potential applications for the process are huge.’
Because of the innovation and 3D printing technology provided by Stratasys for the Strakka Dome S103 LMP2 car, the team was able to make functioning prototype components for testing parts like the 3D printed central control panel, as well as for installation in the completed car.
The Strakka team’s use of Stratasys 3D printing technology affected all areas of the manufacturing process, including wind-tunnel testing of scale model parts, fully-functional prototypes, and 3D printed end-use parts used directly on the S103 LMP2 car for true racing.
Offering the true competitive edge for the Strakka team, based in Britain, the two companies came together at first just for prototyping, but it didn’t take long for the team to realize the potential 3D printing offered for manufacturing. Because they can produce unique components and manufacture them with 3D printing, they have a true step up.
While only a small percentage of the car is actually 3D printed right now, they expect that amount to increase exponentially in the near future. Other nominees in the category were:
- Air Titan V2.0 with their track drying system
- EEC for their F-Pod digital fuel bowser
- Race Keeper for their HDX2 datalogging system
“The future is here now. 3D printing enables immediate concept development and testing,” said awards juror Alan Wilson, CEO of Wilson Motorsport.
3D printing is both a perfect match for and a boon to the automotive industry as a whole. Designing and prototyping has become more affordable and versatile thanks to the technology, which lends itself perfectly to the arena of racing and all the customization require.
“It’s a fascinating technology with far reaching implications for all levels of the sport,” said John O’Brien, editor, Professional Motorsport World. “From accurately recreating components for historic cars that simply are no longer available to creating bespoke prototype parts for the latest F1 and LMP cars, 3D printing is the perfect accoutrement to motorsport.”
Officials state that this year’s shortlist was one of their strongest ever. A panel of 12 experts were responsible for selecting the winners of the Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards 2014, with more information on other winners here.
With 3D printing expertise and automotive knowledge combined, there are limitless ideas for a team like Stratasys and Strakka, able to design components and solutions designed to fit specific racing needs. The partnership between the two is a perfect example of the Strakka motto that while talent wins races — teamwork and intelligence win championships.
“We’re delighted to have received this award, which recognizes the continued impact of Stratasys 3D printing technology on the professional motorsports scene and the automotive sector as a whole,” said Andy Middleton, SVP of Stratasys’ EMEA operations. “The use of proven production-grade materials like Stratasys’ FDM thermoplastics enable the development of durable 3D printed parts for motorsport applications – from scale model and fully functional prototype testing, to the nirvana of 3D printed end-use parts used within the race environment.”
“We expect to see continued growth in direct manufacturing applications as more race teams capitalize on the ability to produce race-ready parts much faster and more cheaply than with the traditional manufacturing methods they are accustomed to,” added Middleton.
Are you interested in 3D printing custom automotive parts? How do you see 3D printing changing the face not only of the automotive industry, but specifically, racing? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the Stratasys and 3D Printing Take the Trophy forum over at 3DPB.com.