Electric Superbike Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, has collaborated with K3D, part of The Kaak Group, Terborg, the Netherlands, to develop and produce one of the first additively manufactured components for the motorcycle racing industry. Like the first superbike produced by Electric Superbike Twente in 2018, the component, an electric motor for the company’s second generation superbike will be water cooled.
Feitse Krekt, Technical Manager of this year’s Electric Superbike Twente team, stated, “The cooling shell of the first superbike consists of multiple parts, which were quite hard to produce using conventional production methods like turning and milling. For these production methods, lots of material was needed and therefore the end product turned out to be quite heavy.”
“Also, the cooling performance was somewhat disappointing,” he continued. “Because of the turning process, the wall thickness needed to be higher than optimal, and we were unable to cool the electric motor as efficiently as possible. Therefore we had less power than desired and sometimes needed to slow down to not overheat the electric motor.”
“With this year’s second generation superbike we wanted to optimise and redesign as many parts as possible. We saw that the cooling shell could be improved a lot by making use of Additive Manufacturing, for its advantages in functional integration and lightweight production. When looking for a production partner, we found K3D,” Krekt further added.
“We were contacted by Electric Superbike Twente in the early stage of their design phase, which gave us the opportunity to guide them in their design for Additive Manufacturing,” commented Jaap Bulsink, CTO of K3D. “We are very experienced with 3D metal printing and are always looking for opportunities to share this knowledge, especially when we are able to do so in such an awesome project as building an electric superbike.”
The design of the cooling shell also benefitted from the geometric freedom offered by Additive Manufacturing. Bulsink explained, “The part has an optimal cooling performance due to the thin walled design with internal channels on the right spot. This was only possible with 3D metal printing where you have optimal freedom of design. On top of this, the part had been designed for minimal weight. The part was printed right the first time and is very accurate and can be used directly without any post-processing.”
Once assembled, the Electric Superbike Twente team will reportedly test the superbike’s performance, including the cooling system. “With innovations like this, it is always exciting to see if and how it works out, but we are already convinced that this 3D metal printed cooling shell is an utterly awesome piece of technology,” concluded Krekt.
Electric Superbike Twente’s new superbike is expected to be unveiled on May 24, 2019, at the Kinepolis in Enschede.