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Motorsports meets 3D printing

Printed by Bosch

The story of the Julius Baer Pole Position trophy

Julius Baer Pole Position Trophy Formula E Season 8

The new Julius Baer Pole Position trophy is not only an accolade for the Formula E driver with the fastest qualification time, it is also proof of what is possible today in the manufacturing of plastic parts when modern 3D printing methods and classic injection molding are successfully combined.

Introducing: Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing

Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing, or Bosch IAM for short, is a start-up within Bosch that has taken on individualized volume production of plastic parts. “Our combined injection molding expertise at Bosch is in Waiblingen. So it makes sense for us to develop our technology right here,” says Hendrik Jahnle, founder of Bosch IAM. With the new Julius Baer Pole Position trophy, he explains, they want to show first and foremost what is possible today in the manufacturing of plastic components. Alexander Voigt, Jahnle’s colleague and creative designer of the new trophy, adds, “With the trophy, we bring the two together: 3D printing and injection molding. After all, both processes have their advantages.”

Alexander Voigt, industrial design engineer

With the trophy, we bring the two together: 3D printing and injection molding.

Alexander Voigt, industrial design engineer

From the idea right to 3D

Computerized perspective: Industrial Design Engineer Alexander Voigt shows the insides of the new trophy in a 3D program.
Computerized perspective: Industrial Design Engineer Alexander Voigt shows the insides of the new trophy in a 3D program.

Voigt explains that sponsor Julius Baer and Formula E officials gave him a lot of creative freedom right from the beginning regarding the design of the new Pole Position trophy. “The trophy needed to be a certain height and, most importantly, be heavier than the one from last year. Otherwise, there were no restrictions.” Inspired by the chassis of current Formula E vehicles, Voigt created his initial drafts with the 3D program Blender, using many different approaches at the beginning. This led to the idea of installing LEDs to allow the trophy to light up in changing colors, operated by a remote control modeled after a race car’s steering wheel. “But that would only have looked really good for night races,” says Voigt. Due to the flexible design and production process, however, it was possible to implement changes quickly.

Attentive to detail, from top to bottom

Even without any complicated lighting technology installed, the final trophy design and its many neat details leave nothing to be desired. Starting with the bionic shape, in which the number one from the old Pole Position trophy was subsequently integrated as an homage, to the metallic look of the earth, to the base, which bears not only the Julius Baer and Bosch logos but also honors the respective venue. “The new trophy has a lot of interesting details,” says Voigt. “And that’s only what you see at a first glance.”

Everything a trophy needs

Real handiwork: After the parts are printed, there is still a lot left to do.
Real handiwork: After the parts are printed, there is still a lot left to do.

The materials used in the new Pole Position trophy are especially exciting. In addition to PA6, which most of us know as nylon, materials known as polylactides are used as well, for instance for the lettering “Designed and Printed by Bosch.” The metallic look of the earth is created by fine metal particles that are mixed with the plastic and reemerge later after hand-sanding. But Voigt also mentions another material that isn’t even visible at first glance: long strands of fiberglass. “To give the trophy additional stability, we decided to use long strands of fiberglass. They run through the entire inside of the trophy.” Since sustainability plays a large role for Voigt and the team, the industrial design engineer adds, “We work with plastic. But thanks to our technology, the material is not destroyed in the process and can be reused.”

Digital twin as the key to quality assurance

Crucial distinction: A so-called Digital Twin of the trophy is required to fulfill the self-proclaimed quality standards.
Crucial distinction: A so-called Digital Twin of the trophy is required to fulfill the self-proclaimed quality standards.

Increasing the stability with long strands of fiberglass is possible because only the outside of the trophy is printed in a 3D printer. Inside, the trophy is hollow and is later filled by a casting process. As requested when the trophy was commissioned, this makes it significantly heavier and more stable than, for example, its predecessor from the previous year. For Bosch, this is an important exemplary model. With the new Pole Position trophy, Voigt and the team are demonstrating their own production process to the world. Quality assurance is supported with digital processes: “What differentiates our 3D printing process from others is the fact that we create a digital twin of every part that we produce,” says Maren Beck, who is responsible for software and process development.

1000 grams

In order to reach this target weight, material was amassed mostly in the trophy pedestal using the injection process.

A contribution to progress

The ultimate goal is for in-house 3D printers to be employed to produce plastic parts in large volumes using the newly developed method – quickly, cost-effectively, sustainably, and in certified quality.

“We want to change the way things are produced,” Beck says proudly. The new Julius Baer Pole Position trophy has definitely contributed to achieving this goal.

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