Formula One racing is a popular sport in many parts of the world, and with this season closing and manufacturers gearing up for 2016, attention is focused on the team to beat. Mercedes is still number one, and Ferrari is a close second, and Williams F1 comes in a solid third. Some unofficial sources claim that Mercedes makes the most use of 3D printing in its racecars, and Williams F1 just signed a deal with EOS to do the very same thing.
The Partnership with EOS
Having just installed a brand new printer – the EOSINT 760 3D printer – EOS recently told multiple sources that it recently signed a contract with Williams F1 (Williams Advanced Engineering and Williams Grand Prix Engineering) in order to provide Williams with information and insight regarding the very latest in 3D printing technologies that can be carried over into their Formula One racecars. Both companies hope that the partnership will provide a full demonstration of the difference that 3D printing can make in the automotive industry and beyond.
Williams’ Existing 3D Printing
3D printing is nothing new to Williams F1. They currently utilize two EOS systems in their labs which use Alumide and Carbonmide materials. Although these are usually only utilized to manufacture parts for testing purposes and not parts which actually end up on the racecars, the ability to recreate gearbox assemblies, engine ancillaries, and more for testing has served them well in the past. However, some of the 3D printed Carbonmide materials actually do end up inside of the racecars, particularly in carbon laminate applications where additional strength is necessary.
The Latest EOS Technology
The latest offering from EOS looks to improve upon the technology that Williams already has at its disposal. The EOSINT 760 3D printer is by far one of the largest SLS-type 3D printers on the market. It has a staggering volume of 700mm x 380 mm x 580 mm, which is quite larger than the machines Williams uses currently. It is hoped that this new machinery will allow for even better parts customization, lighter-weight racecars, and more durability than before.
What to Expect during 2016’s F1 Season
Mercedes stole the show in 2015’s F1 season, and many people unofficially claim that the company’s access to 3D printing and engineers helped them boost their speed this year. With the amount of technology in today’s 3D printing industry, this really comes as no surprise to many. However, it seems that Williams F1 is getting on board, and this new partnership with EOS might make them quite the formidable contender. Although it is difficult – if not impossible – to predict the outcome of 2016 Formula One racing, there is enough evidence to suggest that it will come down to a close battle between Mercedes, Ferrari, and now Williams F1, who is slated to close much of the existing gap.
3D printing is an amazing resource and one that can improve the overall efficiency, design, and durability of not just racecars, but of all kinds of materials in an endless number of industries. The partnership between Williams and EOS is just one of many that we will see in future years.