27 September 2016
Speed Is All-Important – And This Also Applies To Production – Part 2
Our two guest articles offer you a look behind the scenes. Here comes Part 2, which mainly deals with the manufacturing side of the business: What does production involve for our Sauber F1 Team? Which challenges do the constructors face?
Job done! The Sauber C35-Ferrari right before the start of the race
If you’re in a rush, click here to watch the two video reports by the constructors of the Sauber F1 Team. Find out what EDM technology is capable of.
Formula One isn’t just a sport, it’s also a research and test laboratory. It’s where new technology is developed and put to the test. This pinnacle of motorsport places the highest technical demands on all the participating race teams. Some details are subsequently also integrated into ‘normal’ automotive production.
Many of the parts produced in Hinwil are one of a kind, designed specifically for the Sauber C35-Ferrari. The constructors need to be creative and keep coming up with solutions to new, unexpected problems. And all this under enormous pressure of time, as the cars often have to be out on the race circuit the next day.
For instance, a titanium part for the wheel suspension might need replacing. “Machining this kind of titanium part is very complicated. You’re given a 3D model and have to work out how to machine the component,” says Alexander Simai, Sauber F1 Team member responsible EDM machining.
Rotary knob of the steering wheel
A bright spark
Without the support of cutting-edge technology, this certainly wouldn’t be possible in such a short time. The NA2400 and MV1200R wire cutters and the EA12V Advance die sinker at the Hinwil facility all originate from Sauber’s Technical Partner Mitsubishi Electric. The high-tech systems are used throughout the production process, e.g. for the preliminary machining of safety-relevant parts and for the finishing of milled parts.
Learn more about Alexander’s approaches and challenges in this video by Mitsubishi Electric:
Performance of the MV1200R wire cutter has been particularly impressive. The zero-point clamping system reduces tooling time significantly. What’s more, the constructors can finish jobs with fewer recuts. The MV1200R comes with an extremely reliable automatic wire threader. In the unlikely event of wire breakage, the machine rethreads the cutting wire right at the breakage point – in the kerf and without the dielectric having to be fully drained off.
“This saves time and permits unmanned operation at night, even for the processing of components that tend to warp during machining,” explains Alexander Simai.
Alexander Simai, Mechanical Fabrication / EDM
EDM, in particular, has revolutionised the production processes of the Sauber F1 Team and enables the machining of extremely hard materials such as titanium. This machining process is head and shoulders above conventional turning and milling methods. Components for the suspension, the cockpit, the steering column and the brake pedals can be produced quickly, with micrometre precision and in the highest quality. And this is precisely what the Formula One race team needs.
When the Sauber C35 Ferrari stands on the grid, the constructors have done their job. Now it’s time for the drivers and the pit crew to give their all: Hundredths of a second can make the difference between winning and losing.
Read the full article in Mitsubishi Electric’s customer magazine Profil – download the PDF.
Auxiliary construction for a 360° cut
Die sinking of a suspension part (titanium)