Bugatti pushes metal additive manufacturing with SLM Solutions

Bugatti pushes metal additive manufacturing with SLM Solutions

Companies partner to custom print several components for $3 million Chiron supercars that can go nearly 250mph.


Wixom, Michigan – Metal additive manufacturing technology is accelerating in the auto industry, with supercar maker Bugatti achieving consistent performance optimization of components. With metal 3D printers from SLM Solutions, Bugatti engineers have produced multiple functional components.

“Additively produced metal components can cope with extreme strength, stiffness and temperature requirements at speeds of over 375kmh (233mph) with a braking force of 1.35g, and brake disc temperatures up to 1,100°C,” says Frank Götzke, head of New Technologies at Bugatti. The caliper test showed that a tensile strength of 1,250N/mm2 and a material density over 99.7% was achieved.

Bugatti uses selective laser melting for lightweighting and function.

“We always strive for absolute perfection, stylistic as well as technical, as well as considering the perfect synergy of both elements – the tradition of Ettore Bugatti we uphold,” Götzke says.

Built on the SLM500, this Bugatti brake caliper is the volumetrically largest functional titanium component in the world.

The active spoiler bracket, manufactured on an SLM500, represents this combination, allowing the 1,500hp Chiron to reach speeds of 400kmh (249mph) in 32.6 seconds, and bringing it to a stop in 9 seconds. The car adjusts the spoiler’s height and angle to manage the extreme aerodynamic forces the vehicle faces at high speeds.

Bugatti teamed with Siemens to optimize the bracket for production and reduce the number of iterations needed to optimize for weight and rigidity. With 3D printed titanium with a tensile strength of 1,250MPa and a material density of more than 99.7%, spoiler bracket weight fell 5.4kg, a 53% cut that produced a part with increased rigidity.

A small, 3D-printed motor bracket includes integrated water cooling to act as an active heat shield. The motor bracket has been installed in all series vehicles since the delivery of the first Bugatti Chiron from the supercar manufacturer’s production facility in Molsheim, France.

The Chiron, like its predecessor, the Veyron, has two separate water-cooling circuits to keep the component and system temperatures at an acceptable level, even under the most extreme environmental and operating conditions. The high-temperature circuit is used to cool the car’s1,500hp W16 engine, while the low-temperature circuit ensures that the intake charge cooling temperature remains suitably low.

A bypass flow filter of the NT circuit supplies the console while isolating the electronic components from the temperatures of the transmission oil tank. The primary task of the bracket is to engage the gears while opening and closing the two clutches of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission while including the control unit. As a result, the temperature at the electric motor and at the control unit of the pump when driving through a demanding handling course can be lowered from 130°C to 90°C.

The bracket, which was manufactured in the alloy AlSi10Mg on an SLM280 Twin.

The start of the cooperation between Volkswagen subsidiary Bugatti and the SLM Solutions Group AG dates back to the design, calculation, and production of a bionically optimized front axle differential housing in 2014.

The front axle differential housing was manufactured by Audi in Germany plants in Ingolstadt and Györ on SLM280 machines.