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CUPRA streamlines racecar production with HP 3D printing

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Spanish sports car brand CUPRA is seeing the benefits of adopting 3D printing on the racetrack. The company, which has integrated 3D printed components made using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology into its new CUPRA Leon Competición vehicle, has reported greater efficiency in its production process thanks to AM.

The motorsport industry is proving to be a keen adopter of additive manufacturing technologies. Across the board, racing teams and automotive brands are using the technology to accelerate part development and on-demand production. In CUPRA’s case, the company has turned to HP’s MJF technology to produce a number of parts for its new race-car model, including a door mirror, air intakes, cooling intakes and the steering wheel’s center control module.

Cupra HP racecar

The automotive company teamed up with HP to exploit the benefits of its Jet Fusion 5200 3D printing solution for the CUPRA Leon Competición vehicle, which was unveiled this week at the inauguration of the CUPRA Garage. According to the company, 3D printing has enabled it to achieve greater agility, efficiency and flexibility in its car production.

“The main goal is to have a lot of parts in a short time,” said Xavi Serra, the Head of technical development at CUPRA Racing. “We can quickly test a wide variety of designs and furthermore, since vehicle development is now done in parallel, this technology enables us to react swiftly to any changes in the design process.”

Cupra HP racecar

Virginia Palacios, Head of Systems Product Management, 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing, HP Inc., added: “The work with CUPRA demonstrates the power of 3D printing and digital manufacturing—changing the way the world designs and manufactures.”

3D printing enabled the CUPRA team to redesign a traditional car door mirror, adding extra functionality while still meeting TCR competition guidelines, which stipulate that the door mirror must have the same shape as the production car.

“We wanted to add an additional function, which is to cool the driver,” Serra explained. “We therefore had to design an air intake in the maximum pressure zone to achieve this effect.” The redesigned 3D printed components were then tested in a wind tunnel, the same way traditionally manufactured parts are.

Cupra HP racecar

After a successful run in the wind tunnel, the most 3D printed component designs were tested on the track. The innovative Leon Competición was put to the test recently at the Portimao track in Portulgal. According to Serra, the results were “excellent.” All the 3D printed parts withstood the loads and environmental conditions they were exposed to.

“3D printing is going to signal a turning point in the automotive industry by accelerating lead times and HP 3D technology is helping designers create parts that could not be produced with other technologies,” concluded Palacios. “This technology is and will continue to be key in countless fields to make the most complex ideas a reality.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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