In a partnership with ArcelorMittal, headquartered in Luxembourg, students from Nebrija University, Hoyo de Manzanares, Spain, worked with the Sodicars race team to bring metal Additive Manufacturing its T1-class car for the 2023 Dakar Rally. The collaboration focused on the components supporting the vehicle’s side box and, leveraging AM, the part connecting the side box with the bargeboard achieved a 20% weight reduction.
The design process took into account the points where the component is fastened to the vehicle, the aerodynamic requirements and the simulation of forces it is exposed to in order to optimise the design space. The joint work of the various R&D teams made it possible to produce the final additively manufactured parts within three weeks after receiving the case study.
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The 800 g component, created by engineers specialising in design, computational analysis and manufacturing processes, was additively manufactured at the facilities of ArcelorMittal’s R&D&I Centre in Avilés using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) technology. To produce the component, the team used a 17-4PH steel alloy, which was subsequently heat-treated.
“Our participation in this project constitutes a new challenge within the framework of our Partnership Programme,” stated Pedro Prendes, Head of Process R&D, ArcelorMittal. “It is an exciting project in which we will be able to see yet another 3D printed steel part deployed in the extremely harsh conditions of the Dakar Rally, which is in itself a real challenge.”
ArcelorMittal operates a technological innovation centre focused on the development of cutting-edge technologies, including Additive Manufacturing, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and green energy. Nebrija University integrates AI and generative modelling techniques to further develop products manufactured by ArcelorMittal.
The partnership between the two parties began some years ago, with the development of an additively manufactured motorbike frame, which demonstrated that steel could offer a lighter solution than aluminium (a 25% weight reduction was achieved in this structural part). From there, the partnership’s long-term objective has been introducing an ever-increasing range of additively manufactured components in the automotive sector and consolidating this technology.
“Additive Manufacturing will continue to play a major role in the future of mobility,” added Nicolás de Abajo, Head of ArcelorMittal Research Centres. “Steel will continue to reinvent itself in order to adapt to a changing context in which new compositions, technology and digitalisation will create opportunities for new developments.”