Printing Metal Hydraulic Parts for Land Rover's Competitive-Sailing Group Reduces Weight, Improves Efficiency

February 10, 2017

Engineers at Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) have adopted metal AM (laser powder-bed processing provided by Renishaw) as a way to produce custom parts.

Example: a sheave case for the pulley in the daggerboard lift line, which faces high compressive loads in service and requires good wear resistance. And, to keep weight to a minimum, the part is designed to be hollow—very difficult to make any other way than AM, according to Land Rover BAR chief technology officer Andy Claughton.

“The potential of AM in terms of saving weight and improving efficiency is tremendous,” Claughton explains. “For example, we took a long, hard look at our hydraulics system. Before 3D printing came along, all of the parts in the system would have been manufactured by taking metal away from a solid block. The shapes that you can create with this method are limited, so the design is limited and so, too, is the efficiency.

“Hydraulic fluid doesn’t take kindly to going around hard corners for instance,” Claughton continues, “and there is a loss of power when it has to do so. With traditional techniques this might be the only way you can manufacture the part, but with AM you can build it with smooth, rounded corners that significantly improves efficiency in the fluid transfers involved.”

Renishaw has manufactured several parts for Land Rover BAR. Claughton shares some details: the weight of a 3D metal-printed manifold design reduced by 60 percent, he says, with an increase in performance efficiency of better than 20 percent.

Industry-Related Terms: 3D printing
View Glossary of 3D Metal Printing Terms


See also: Renishaw Inc.

Technologies: Applications, Powder-Bed Systems


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