Ferrari has unveiled plans to deliver a new piston design created through 3D printing. This new innovation is expected to be a key component in the performance of the Formula 1 engine Ferrari is preparing for the 2017 circuit.

With development of their 2017 model, the 668, well in the works, anticipations of the release are high. According to sources, the engine department has made some drastic changes to the 668 engine, straying far away from the engine used in the recently concluded 2016 Formula 1 racing circuit. Mattia Binotto, the technical director of Ferrari’s F1 department, has repeatedly expressed his excitement for the debut of a “breakthrough” engine. The changes are said to be centered around increasing combustion, with Ferrari implementing a new micro-injector design in its engine.

This change will decrease the fuel consumption while boosting performance. However, it will also increase the stress put on the engine, as well as the temperature. In order to address this issue, Ferrari has turned to innovating a completely new piston design that has a steel alloy, as opposed to traditionally used aluminum alloys. The development of this steel alloy will enable the alloys to withstand the temperature change brought on by the new micro-injector’s integration. Working in temperatures where aluminum alloys would become compromised and consequently deformed, steel alloys will be able to continue peak performance.

Ferrari is using 3D printing technology to reach peak engine performance

In order to find the perfect alloy for the engine, Ferrari’s engineers have turned to 3D printing technology. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has enabled the engineers to create an alloy layer-by-layer. Additive manufacturing gives them the freedom to change the design, creating complex shapes and designs that were never before attainable through the traditional methods of casting and machining. On top of this, the 3D printing process is incredibly accurate, cost-efficient and fast. The abilities the technology has given Ferrari’s engineers could potentially change the landscape of engine design and development.

Ferrari will undoubtedly not be alone in its use of 3D printing technology, but it has opened up incredible possibilities. Materials, such as steel, were always unrealistic options for parts. However, additive manufacturing’s ability to produce components that don’t have full surfaces makes it possible for new parts to be developed with different materials than those of traditional parts. 3D printing is proving to be an advantageous tool to Ferrari’s Formula 1 team, bringing forth the potential to begin a new frontier in engine performance and construction.