The customization factor has now also become a highly important consideration for the automotive industry.
Aesthetics and design go hand in hand with the need to make cars or motorbikes unique and original, shifting the attention of the industry to technologies which allow customization, within time frames which are in line with the requirements of the market. Windform 3D printing technology is considered to be an important ally in this environment and a point of reference for the international market. Created at the end of the 1990s by Mr Franco Cevolini, Technical Director of CRP Technology and CEO of CRP Group, Windform materials were initially used to quickly manufacture parts and components for the motorsport sector which could then be tested on track and in wind tunnels. In fact, the name of the technology comes directly from this method of testing, Windform. A true industrial revolution started with the development and introduction of these materials which were soon applied outside the world of motorsport.
Twenty years later CRP Technology has become the undisputed leader of the international scene of 3D printing technology and rapid manufacturing in highly demanding sectors such as aerospace, medicine, UAV, entertainment and motoring. The unusual feature of Windform 3D Printing is found in the potential of these polyamide-based materials, reinforced with carbon fibre or fibre-glass, and their ability to create finished parts and functional prototypes with important mechanical characteristics.
In the automotive field, they are used widely not only in the manufacture of structural parts, but also in the realisation of parts with a strong aesthetic impact.
Energica, the electric motor produced by Energica Motor Company, was created and developed with Windform 3D printing technology, giving life to innovative, avant-garde solutions which have made Energica a singular example to the world.
Bella Litinetski, the young designer from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna, focused especially, on the study of the customization of several parts of Energica, using the additive technology in Windform.
Her choice, as designer, was made considering the following criteria:
- Parts of the motorbike which could be modified in a way to make them unique and original
- Parts which could be fitted and removed simply, without the need for a workshop
Using parametric modelling, Bella Litinetski processed and developed a customized version of Energica headlight masks on a computer, following aesthetic choices inspired by natural shapes which derive from the process of division and aggregation in cells. The procedure saw the designer focus on the aesthetic and visual impact, thanks to 3D Printing technology which allowed the freedom of form, and when combined with Windform materials made it possible to create highly complex masks with a strong aesthetic impact.
The masks were made using Windform LX 2.0, a polyamide-based material, reinforced in fibre-glass, which is particularly suitable for this type of use due to its non-conductivity. In fact, Windform LX 2.0 has proven itself to be an ideal material for applications which require electrical insulation, reporting a tracking resistance index (Comparative Tracking Index) of CTI 600.
This application also reflects the interest in Windform 3D Printing technology by industrial designers and highlights a new production approach involving the automotive industry, which has to deal with the ever-pressing demand for customization from the market. CRP Technology, together with its Windform materials, provides a concrete solution, and offers the market a new production model.