Fully functional additively manufactured automotive cylinder block produced for Volkswagen

October 18, 2016

hofmann-cylinder-block-website

Robert Hofmann GmbH, Lichtenfels, Germany, has additively manufactured a fully functional aluminium cylinder block for a Volkswagen VR6 engine. Weighing around 25 kg, the AM cylinder block has undergone and passed a number of tests at Volkswagen, offering significant advantages compared with conventional prototypes.

The cylinder block is virtually the same as Volkswagen’s existing series VR6 cylinder block, except for being made from aluminium instead of a cast iron GJL-250 material. CAD data of the existing cast iron cylinder block was used for the prototype which took 300 hours to produce on a Concept Laser X 1000 R system. It was stated that Volkswagen wanted to investigate the potential of Additive Manufacturing technology and convinced the team at Hofmann to take on the project. “When Volkswagen approached us with the idea to build a complete cylinder block in a 3D-printer, we were a bit sceptical in the beginning,” stated Michael Dinkel who managed the project at Hofmann.

Following the initial build a number of post-processing operations were necessary, especially with the cleaning and removal of the necessary support structures. Aluminium powders loosely stuck to the cylinder block after the build had to be removed with close attention given to the difficult to access and narrow areas such as undercuts. Support structures had to be cut out with high precision, even in areas which were hard to reach.
Before the cylinder block could be fully tested at Volkswagen the cylinder liner was coated with an APS-lining.

rh_180816_zylinderkurbelgehaeuse_kl-edit-web

Engineers at Volkswagen then carried out extensive metallurgical and geometric tests. For example, the tests included computer tomography to check internal geometries, such as the cooling jacket around the cylinder tubes, which showed that the AM cylinder block has low porosity and significantly smaller distortions and deviations from the desired geometry when compared to cast components. With the successful running of the motor, Robert Hofmann GmbH and Volkswagen proved that it is possible to produced functional cylinder blocks via Additive Manufacturing. This, they stated, could be an important milestone for the future of the car industry.

The cylinder block will on display at formnext, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, November 15 – 18, hall 3.1, stand E30.

www.hofmann-innovation.com

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap