Punch Torino: A Legacy of Automotive Mastery
Nestled in Italy’s automotive heartland, Punch Torino stands as a beacon of engineering brilliance. Since 2005, Punch Torino had grown from a small spin-off to a leading European R&D facility, employing over 700 experts from 12 nations. Their commitment to excellence isn’t a slogan; it’s a relentless pursuit of innovation, even in the face of intricate challenges.
The Challenge: The Camshaft Locking Tool
The camshaft locking tool, a seemingly simple yet critical component, had become a complex puzzle. This tool’s role in connecting the engine’s crankshaft to a pair of camshafts is vital. Its precision and durability are paramount.
If a locking tool breaks during the critical tightening process, the torque on the camshaft will cause it to rotate out of position. The team would then need to loosen or remove the timing chain, re-secure the camshafts and begin the tightening process again. Waiting for a new locking tool to be printed could delay the team by a day or more, especially if it caused them to miss a build window for a new engine.
During the engine design process, engineers often make frequent, small design changes to engine components, especially during the early stages of engine development. Each time, the team must tweak the design of the camshaft locking tools and print new ones. Often, the engineering team may test multiple camshaft designs at the same time. Each one requires a slightly different tool design.
Traditional outsourcing led to delays, high costs, and a lack of control over the design process. The need for a new solution was urgent, and the stakes were high.
Markforged’s Simulation: Validating Part Performance
In the past, the process of designing camshaft locking tools required a lot of trial-and-error work. There wasn’t an accurate way to predict if a tool would be stiff enough and strong enough to withstand the torque loads placed on them. They had no way of knowing if a design change to the locking tool could compromise its structural integrity.
To solve this problem, Punch Torino found a powerful ally in Markforged’s Simulation software.
Simulation has enabled us to eliminate a lot of trial and error in the design of our camshaft locking tools. It has helped us cut our development time by more than 50 percent.Valerio Ametrano, Senior Pre-Production Engineer, PUNCH Torino S.p.A.
After they started to use Simulation for Markforged, they were able to reduce the average number of locking tool design iterations from eight to three, at least at first.
According to Ametrano, when the team was first learning to use Simulation, they went through some trial and error to correctly characterise the boundary conditions, force modulus and deformation the locking tool was exposed to. Now that they have this data dialed in, they can usually simulate and print a typical locking tool in a single iteration.
He estimates that Simulation for Markforged not only saves the team an average of 18 hours per jig. The engineering time required to modify the part designs is now managed within the software. This frees up a significant amount of printer time that was previously dedicated to producing multiple iterations of camshaft locking tools.
The software became an essential part of the design process, enabling Punch Torino to make frequent changes to camshaft designs without compromising the tool’s integrity. The days of trial and error were over; the future was here.
Markforged’s 3D Printing: The Game-Changer
Recognizing the need for a more efficient solution, Punch Torino turned to Markforged’s 3D printing technology. Using the Markforged X7 printer, combined with Onyx material reinforced with carbon fibre, they embarked on an in-house production journey. The results were revolutionary:
- Speed: The tool was produced 90% faster.
- Cost: A dramatic 95% reduction in costs.
- Flexibility: Rapid iterations and improvements, tailored to their exacting standards.
- Reliability: The tool could withstand torque up to 120-newton meters without any degrees of rotation.
Beyond the Tool: The Ripple Effect of 3D Printing
The success of the camshaft locking tool was just the beginning. It opened doors to a world of possibilities, from prototyping to the production of end-use parts. The in-house production allowed Punch Torino to test multiple camshaft designs simultaneously, each requiring a slightly different tool design. The ability to innovate, iterate, and improve is a core part of their engineering DNA.
The Future: A Vision of Excellence
Punch Torino’s collaboration with Markforged is more than a success story; it’s a vision of the future. A future where challenges are opportunities, where tradition and technology dance in harmony, and where excellence is not a destination but a journey. With plans to extend their 3D printing expertise to other industrial and technology clients, they stand at the forefront of a new era in automotive manufacturing.