McLaren teams up with 3D Systems

McLaren International in Woking, UK, has formed a new, long-term technology partnership with 3D Systems. The UK division of the US-owned rapid prototyping specialist in Hemel Hempstead will provide its latest 'SLA 7000' stereolithography systems to the West McLaren Mercedes F1 team. The partnership will also involve dual stereolithography R&D programmes

McLaren teams up with 3D Systems

The SLA 7000 systems produce components from CAD models for wind tunnel and car build development work using resin and laser technology in short timeframes, reducing production cycles with no restrictions on shape.

The deal was signed during the United States GP meeting by John Murray, 3D's director of global motorsports business development, and McLaren MD Martin Whitmarsh, who commented: "With the new machines, we'll have more flexibility and increased capacity, improving on reaction times and production cycles. Only 24 hours after a component is designed, it can be ready for wind tunnel use, dramatically speeding up the process in comparison with a traditional manufacturing cycle.

"The machines will also allow us to bring all our RPS requirements in-house, thereby providing us with the benefits of total control. To ensure continuity during the development process for the 2004 season, 3D Systems will provide equipment in our current F1 facility for immediate use in conjunction with installation into the McLaren Technology Centre."

3D sales director Mike Kelly said: "McLaren International has [already] invested a significant amount of resource in working with us over recent years to develop advanced applications that significantly enhance the performance of its racecars. Now we'll work together to develop and deliver the next generation of materials for prototyping and rapid stereolithography. The initial projects are focused on aerodynamic application development but McLaren will also benefit from our experience in other areas of the development process."

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