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Heat Management for Additive Manufactured Parts

With the development of additive manufacturing (3D printing) in the recent years, additive manufacturing is becoming a popular process for OEMs especially for prototyping and even used in production for some! The market projects parts and accessories to reach around $17 billion by the end of 2025.

16/12/22

Prototyping is a crucial but repetitive part of the car designing process. Additive manufacturing can decrease the ‘time to market’ significantly as it speeds up every stage of prototyping from conceptual, aesthetics, functional and test serial production. These prototypes/production 3D printed parts are typically aluminium, steel or nickel based alloys for the very high temperatures applications, and sometimes composite materials too.

3d Printing

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The Perfect Prototyping Solution
Our ZircoFlex® FORM has been a game changer for rapid prototyping, especially for Automotive OEMs. For the obvious purpose of prototypes, manufacturers and engineers are required to run several performance tests, which shouldn’t take too much time to reiterate for a final design. ZircoFlex® FORM is a structural ceramic heat shield which can be easily fitted and removed without tooling. It’s able to be formed into different shapes easily, fitting around complex 3D printed geometries. This can provide an accurate and easily obtained thermal performance results, which can then be potentially further refined with our ZircoFlex® SHIELD solutions for the final production piece (our bespoke metallic encapsulated heat shielding solution).

One of the biggest reasons of using additive manufacturing in the automotive industry is light-weighting. Although this doesn’t apply to prototyping for performance, there are OEMs that utilise 3D printing in their final design and production. Both our ZircoFlex® FORM and SHIELD can help meet stringent weight and efficiency targets. ZircoFlex® FORM is only 1.6mm in thickness and 2.9kg/m^2 in weight, adding to the structural optimisation of these designs.

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Our ceramic offset heat shields are off-the-shelf solutions that can provide effective protection for engine bay components, bodywork, and vulnerable electronic components. ZircoFlex® FORM can withstand up to 900°C and SHIELD can be in direct contact with components up to 1000°C. By reducing temperatures around engine bay environments, car performance can improve with cooler fluids and engine inlet charge. Lowering temperatures for composite-based bodywork is even more important, not just from a performance perspective but also for safety.

When it comes to prototyping, minimising costs is key prior to reaching the final design. Utilizing ZircoFlex® FORM as a prototyping tool offers a cost-effective and re-usable solution that doesn’t require tooling during the reiteration process. Further reducing material consumption, waste and help save costs.

Get in touch to find out more about our thermal management solutions for your additive manufactured prototypes and series production.