The aerospace and automotive industries were early adopters of the additive manufacturing technology. Having the ability to design and test parts in a fraction of the usual time has speed up the products design, test and manufacturing to market timetable. Now thanks to new and maturing technologies short runs of production parts are becoming more economical and the design more refined. This is the case with the Munich-based company who is getting ready for the current season of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) and in doing so, is also celebrating the production of their 500th water pump wheel that was made using additive manufacturing technology.
To create the water pump wheels, the company’s engineers use Selective Laser Melting (SLM), this procedure creates a physical object from a generative layering process consisting of laser-fused metal powder in .05 millimeter increments. That’s right my friends its not just plastic parts anymore. But are they very strong? You may ask… The BMW’s water pump wheel is one piece of the high-performance powertrain that runs up to 70 percent of the time under full load. The company is reported as saying “all pump gear works flawlessly, confirming (our) leading role when it comes to additive production methods.” The natural ability to customize an object before printing has allowed the company to re-shape the water pump wheel as needed truly fine tuning its performance.
The part – which is expected to continue to be printed using the SLM production method – will be used on the DTM racecars and in the Z4 GT3 customer vehicles.
By Simon, “BMW turns to 3D printing to create water pump wheel for DTM race cars” 3ders.org,