SLM Solutions builds prototype electric-drive housing for Porsche with its new NXG XII 600

December 17, 2020

Electric-drive housing for a Porsche, additively manufactured on the NXG XII 600 (Courtesy SLM Solutions)

SLM Solutions Group AG, Lübeck, Germany, has collaborated with Porsche to further demonstrate the capabilities of Additive Manufacturing in the production of innovative automotive components. Using SLM Solutions’ new NXG XII 600 AM machine, launched in November, it has additively manufactured a new electric-drive housing which is lighter, stiffer and quicker to produce than existing solutions.

The Porsche advanced powertrain engineering department focuses on large applications such as e-drive housings, cylinder blocks, and cylinder heads. In a proof of concept, the companies have produced a complete e-drive housing, specifically designed to leverage the advantages of the Additive Manufacturing process.

The e-drive is designed for use on the front axle of a sports car and consists of a permanent magnet motor with 800-volt operating voltage, delivering up to 205 kW (280 hp). The downstream, two-stage transmission is integrated in the same housing and drives the wheels with up to 2,100 N m of torque.

The additively manufactured electric-drive housing is said to be lighter, stiffer and quicker to produce than existing solutions (Courtesy SLM Solutions)

Topological optimisation of the design has resulted in a lattice structure to reduce the weight and increase stiffness. Additive Manufacturing allows the inclusion of functionally integrated cooling channels and results in reduced assembly time through the integration of parts.

The NXG XII 600 is equipped with twelve overlapping 1 kW lasers and a build envelope of 600 x 600 x 600 mm, enabling the production of large-volume square parts with up to 120 µm layer thickness. Productivity is further enhanced through variable beam spot; bi-directional recoating; laser balance and an optimised gas flow, while a closed environment maximizes operator safety.

The E-drive unit measures 590 x 560 x 367 mm and was built in only twenty-one hours on the NXG XII 600.

Falk Heilfort, powertrain development engineer of Porsche stated, “This new manufacturing technology is technically and economically interesting for us. Possible use cases are especially prototypes in the development phase, special and small series production as well as for motorsport and classic spare parts.”

Ralf Frohwerk, Global Head of Business Development of SLM Solutions, commented, “We are glad and proud to cooperate with highly innovate companies like Porsche. The NXG XII 600 achieves unmatched levels of performance and functional improvements of key automotive parts, while delivering cost productivity that enables broad use of Additive Manufacturing technology for true series production. We are thrilled to take this big step towards full industrialisation of metal Additive Manufacturing for Porsche applications.”

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