AMS Spring 2023

Sauber Technologies Teams with EOS for Polymer 3D Printing

6K SmarTech

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EOS has signed a three-year deal with Sauber Technologies, the Swiss engineering company that works with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen, formerly a Sauber sister company. While Sauber does a lot of automotive engineering and is an emerging power in additive manufacturing (AM) in Switzerland, the Formula 1 team relies on Sauber to perform much of its AM work.

Orlen was backed by Longbow Finance, an entity connected to Swedish billionaires Karl-Johan Persson, the founder of H&M, and Finn Rausing, an heir to the Tetra Laval packaging fortune. Though the team was almost sold to Andretti Racing in 2021, Mr. Rausing is said to now own the F1 team outright through Islero Investments.

A lot of Sauber Technologies AM is currently performed on Additive Industries metal machines. Additive Industries, meanwhile, does have a partnership with the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team. Now, EOS, has a partnership with Sauber, but it is focused on 3D printing polymers, after signing a partnership agreement at the Barcelona GP last weekend.

f.l.t.r.: Christoph Hansen (COO Sauber Technologies), Frédéric Vasseur (Team Principal Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen), Dr.-Ing. Tina Schlingmann (Head of Sales EMEA, EOS), Markus Glasser (SVP EMEA, EOS)

Christoph Hansen (COO Sauber Technologies), Frédéric Vasseur (Team Principal Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen), Tina Schlingmann (Head of Sales EMEA, EOS), Markus Glasser (SVP EMEA, EOS)

¨We see AM applications in F1 for both prototyping and serial production where reproducible part quality is key. Together with Sauber we are aiming to set new benchmarks here. With more serial AM applications in F1, automation will be essential too, enabling higher productivity and reduced costs per part. Sauber is the first customer for polymer-based AM, integrating this into its production, including the installation of an EOS P 500 system,” said Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS.

¨EOS and Sauber share the same passion for application-driven design and the highest quality standards, which we want to offer in motorsports and beyond. EOS’s company culture is a perfect fit for us, which is why we decided to enter this partnership. From a technology perspective, we co-operate with EOS because its ecosystem of partners and sister companies not only enables the end-to-end solutions we need, including automation, but provides us with highly custom solutions via AMCM (Additive Manufacturing Customized Machines),” said Christoph Hansen, COO Sauber Technologies.

The two are working together to further industrialize 3D printing. To do that, Sauber will install a P500 system running PA 12. The company claims that the system only has to be serviced once a year and that it has a 75% higher uptime than competing machines. This polymer powder bed fusion (PBF) printer compares to the great deal of stereolithography systems used in motorsport to build wind tunnel parts. Both PBF and SLA are relied on to 3D print jigs, fixtures and end use parts. There are also metal powder bed fusion components made for motorsports.
I’m curious to see what kinds of parts and production Sauber will run with the P500. There is a lot ongoing in F1 and many other racing classes. There is also a great deal of speculation about major car manufacturers using 3D printing in end use parts in production cars. What I’m most interested in now, however, is neither of these things.
I’d like to see just how well 3D printing has percolated through to small series sports cars, specialty vehicles like fire trucks, high value components in automotive customization, aftermarket and more. For decades now, Formula 1 and one-off hypercars have been the staging area for 3D printing in automotive. However, away from the spotlight, how is it going in many other automotive applications? The area where the economics of additive moves from possible to probably is small series production parts that are still high-value but not for motorsports. Perhaps this deal will get us a bit closer?

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