WSBK BMW Motorrad and motorcycle components on 3D printers
It is very interesting to watch how new technologies enter everyday life. Almost all of us are now walking around with the most powerful computers in our pockets, which literally fit in the palm of our hand and are hundreds of times superior in performance to those that controlled the navigation of aircraft at the dawn of the space age. True, we watch them in tiktok and play games.
And not in everyday life, somewhere at the peak of modern science and technology, much more interesting things are happening. And professional racing teams adopt the most advanced scientific achievements. How about, for example, the fact that BMW Motorrad’s WSBK factory team 3D prints components for their bikes right on the track? Funny, but quite logical, isn’t it?
BMW is currently fifth in the 2020 design competition, with only one race left at the time of writing. It’s time for experimentation and innovation, because the risk is minimal. In the worst case, you can roll back everything as it was, and in the best case, you can get used to innovations and use them in the next season, becoming stronger.
New technologies from the BMW Group
The BMW Group issued a press release on the use of the new technology, dated October 12, 2020, but did not say how long they have been using it. Anyway, the team uses telemetry data to gain insight into how new component options work – right here and now, in real-world conditions. No queue, no waiting – just a useful new component, printed and ready to go.
Components that are not subject to significant stress, such as quick release latches and so on, go directly to the motorcycle. But elements that would be better made of metal or carbon can also be printed – they just will last less, but the prototype from the 3D printer will not differ in aerodynamics from the one that will be made according to the run-in configuration from a more durable carbon composite. Moreover, on loaded elements, plastic allows you to more accurately and quickly obtain information about wear and parts subject to maximum loads – deformation and degradation of plastic will tell you about this more clearly and more accurately than metal fatigue. Thanks to this, it is possible to change the shape of the component or strengthen the fasteners even before entering the series.
Racing fans usually only get to watch a three-day racing weekend. Racing teams, on the other hand, are usually on the track a few days before the races, testing their vehicles and adjusting them for each track. Having a 3D printer with you allows you to quickly produce components and not waste time transporting them from a factory or warehouse and conduct rides in the desired configuration.
The science fiction writer said rightly at one time: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”