Case Study: 3D Printing in the Automotive Industry

Printing the Power to Perform – with AM

Pushing the Boundaries of AM in Motorsports with Ten Kate Racing

Staying Ahead of the Curve is Decisive: Motorsports pros take this statement literally.

To gain that crucial competitive edge, pro racers constantly strive to optimize their bikes’ parts to shave a hundredth of a second off lap times. Searching for a way to produce superbike parts faster and more flexibly, Dutch superbike team Ten Kate Racing chose to partner with Forward AM. The goal was to find a material which would meet the extreme demands of top-flight motorcycle racing whilst being super-simple to use on a desktop 3D printer.

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“Outstanding material performance is vital for us. 3D printed parts on our race bikes have to be absolutely reliable.”

Bastiaan Huisjes, Development Manager, R&D at Ten Kate Racing.

Until recently, Ten Kate had used traditional milling to manufacture their parts – a very time-consuming and cost-intensive machining process. A constant feature in the Superbike World Championship since 1995, the racing team faces challenges such as rapid and brutal changes in temperature, mechanical loads and heavy vibrations. This means racing parts have to be redesigned and adjusted very frequently, then produced very quickly. Using Additive Manufacturing enables the Ten Kate team to manufacture reliable parts that excel under the toughest racetrack conditions.

Further performance criteria for these Flying Dutchmen? “Ease of use”, Bastiaan replies without hesitation: “We’re a racing team, not full-time 3D printing operators”.

Easy to Use, Hard to Beat – Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

The perfect match for the challenge was Forward AM’s Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+. This new advanced filament is outstandingly easy to use, enabling a highly efficient printing process that gives the 3D operator maximum time to exploit the full production potential without the need for continual readjustment.
Together with Ten Kate Racing, Forward AM started by 3D printing the bikes’ dashboard spacer and junction box housing. Previously, designing and milling these parts took at least three weeks: By going additive with Forward AM, Ten Kate Racing successfully shortened the lead time to just seven days. “With Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ we’re 3D printing more and more racing components – even complex shapes like retainer brackets”, Bastian confirms.

Benefits of Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ at a Glance

  • Easy to print
  • Direct printing on heated glass or print bed surfaces
  • High heat resistance
  • Adheres to water-soluble support

Material Properties of Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

Printing Guidelines for FFF

Result: High Speed in the Workshop – Top Speed on the Track

By harnessing the phenomenal potential of Additive Manufacturing, Ten Kate Racing was able to speed up the development and production cycle of their bike parts, giving the team an undeniable advantage on race day. Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ gives Ten Kate the component printing simplicity, reliability, and design flexibility to keep the team a development step ahead of the competition.

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1. Reduced Weight
3D printing parts allows you to build lightweight, yet sturdy structures. Saving material through the right design and technology makes a significant contribution to a more sustainable future of aerospace.
2. Complex Parts
Additive manufacturing enables the realisation of complex components with a multitude of individual design options. These custom parts made from a single piece, however intricate they may be, are sturdy and less prone to damage. Our applications offer an array of technologies for the printing of complex parts – from our Virtual Engineering, to prototyping, and our highly advanced engineering-grade materials.
3. Cost Reductions
Printing parts lowers production costs significantly: Through rapid prototyping and virtual engineering, components can be produced quickly and cost-effectively without previous tooling. The production of components made from a single piece reduce assembly time, making manufacturing considerably economical.
4. Meet Industry Requirements
At Forward AM we build on our extensive experience in aerospace component manufacturing and the innovations of our researchers and scientists. 3D printed parts made from our state-of-the-art materials meet the highest industry requirements, combining excellent mechanical and thermal performance.