AM on the Olympic Stage in RioOctober 20, 2016
Additive manufacturing (AM) earned its place as a key participant at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Case in point is the use of 3D metal printing via selective laser melting technology to help Olympic cyclists improve their equipment. SLM Solutions customer Erpro & Sprint, a French AM company, partnered with the French Cycling Federation and wind-tunnel facility and design company GIE S2A in the development of custom handlebars for seven French cyclists who competed in Brazil. The handlebars were produced on the SLM 280HL metal 3D printer.
The success of the handlebars lies in their innovative designs created by GIE S2A, combining aerospace and automotive processes. Taking advantage of the design possibilities AM affords, the handlebars were created to incorporate an interior lattice structure, providing strength yet minimizing weight. Additional weight savings were realized through the lightweight material choice: aluminum.
To support the cyclists, Erpro & Sprint manufactured seven fully 3D printed handlebars via the SLM printer, which features a 280 by 280 by 235 mm build chamber and high-throughput technology with multiple laser configurations and a patented bidirectional recoating. An integrated SLM build processor and open software architecture offer users the freedom to control system parameters to optimize for unique requirements.
Using the 3D-printed handlebars, the French men’s cycling team earned the Bronze Medal in Rio.