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Ilmor and CRP Technology: a new cooperation
“If size did matter, the dinosaurs would still be alive”
If size did matter, the dinosaurs would still be alive." As the Chairman and Chief Executive of Porsche, Mr Wendelin Wiedeking, personal motto greatly explains, this is the era of small and managerially agile companies,
that make successful exclusive products, sure-fire way to big-profits. This is particularly true for motor sport world, where flexibility, quality, reliability and extremely quick feedback and deliveries are the key-words: Ilmor and CRP comply all of them!

CRP and Ilmor know each other since some years, being both protagonists in F1 world, as hi-tech partners and suppliers.

The Ilmor company was founded by Mario Illien, Paul Morgan and Roger Penske in 1984. It quickly became successful in Indy racing and progressed to competing in Formula One in the early nineties, winning the world championship with McLaren in '98 and '99. After great successes in many diverse racing series, in late 2002, Mercedes-Benz elected to begin a phased buyout of Ilmor. This began to stifle opportunities for Special Projects and so by the end of June 2005 a new Ilmor was born and now possesses its own independent facilities employing 60 staff in total. The main business is the development and production of racing engines, from conception through to trackside.

CRP Technology, motorsport teams' active partner since more than 30 years and ISO 9001:2000 certified, has four major separate departments, for one single goal (support a partner alongside the entire project and the manufacturing process): R&D, rapid prototyping, CNC machining, engineering and design.
A unique interface for racing teams and constructors. CRP's R&D Department has also developed WINDFORM® materials for Laser Sintering technology: WINDFORM® XT, carbon fibre filled, allows the creation of high- end functional prototypes and production parts. While CRP is focused on Motorsport and Automotive, WINDFORM® suits several different sectors, from Design to Electronics, from Consumer products to Lighting systems, besides wind tunnel or racing cars aerodynamics and non-structural parts.

After some cooperation in F1, CRP has been chosen by Ilmor for some key parts of the last MotoGP project, that will bring two Ilmor-powered bikes in 800cc class in 2007 World Championship season. A wildcard entry into the last two events of 2006, Estoril (15th Oct) and Valencia (29th Oct) has been obtained too
"Ilmor has designed in fact a brand new high revving engine to suit the new engine capacity rules for 2007. The 800cc V4 with air valve springs is designed to be lightweight, powerful and most importantly, driveable. They are making good progress with development, and in addition to extensive dyno testing the engine has had a shakedown test at Silverstone, and undergone further testing at various circuits throughout Europe, ridden by Garry McCoy. It is fitted to a brand new chassis, designed by Eskil Suter, and the rider feedback has been extremely encouraging so far." (Ilmor press release)

The engines are four-valve, twin-cam designs with gear-driven camshafts, and the valves are pneumatically operated. The new Ilmor V4 will have reduced dimensions in order to allow a good frame, easy to be driven. The pneumatic valves allow easy and quick set up and reduces dangerous vibrations that new 800 cc engines have, due to the very high rotational speed they have to reach. Being a 75 deg engine a balancing counter-shaft is needed and therefore a more efficient radiator: the engine is quite close to the 210 HP at 18.000 rpm power target. This is a limit that they decided to fix: "We will not make the same mistake as Cosworth did with Aprilia," Ilmor boss Mario Illien told to a UK magazine. "We know what it takes to build a motorcycle engine and it is all about power delivery and bottom end power."

"We will react faster and make decisions faster," he said too, and this is the reason why a partner as CRP is required: companies working in F1 have something different in their DNA. They understand immediately what the team needs, making it faster and better. Every hi-tech company can make a good job, but few can make a great job, with perfect reliability, perfect quality and quickly! The racing teams don't have to be worried of late or of quality, they just have to receive a perfect part, assemble it on the racing car or bike and run.

Confidentiality doesn't allow many details on what was developed, but just to give a rough guide and few examples, scavenge pump housing in aluminium alloy was made with an incredible strict tolerance range, fully inspected, and the delivery time was 1 week, and this is hi-tech production and not Rapid Prototyping! Then some “hybrid” parts made by Rapid Prototyping in WINDFORM® XT and then CNC machined for racing engine and also customized for dyno tests: sump baffles, sump scrapers, dyno air inlets and manifolds and cylinder head brackets.

Tim Roberts (Ilmor Engineering ltd) explained: "What Ilmor did appreciated is a unique partnership made by quality, service and hi-tech solutions: WINDFORM® XT and precision CNC machining on aerospace special alloys within ridiculously short time!"


What is it the Selective Laser Sintering technology?

“The part is made by consecutive overlapping of layers, using Selective Laser Sintering technology: in a chamber, with inert atmosphere and at constant temperature, a roll lays a layer of thin powder on a platform, on which a CO2 laser is pointed on, giving the necessary t for the local melting of the powders. The system doesn't require any support because the piece is held up by the non sintered powders, therefore giving a complete freedom of shape.”

“CRP Technology's Research & Development area has developed new materials, which, applied to the Selective Laser Sintering, have given life to WINDFORM®, a product which allows the creation of perfectly functional prototypes and production parts for more diverse applications.”

“The latest one to hit the market is WINDFORM® XT : the carbon fibre filled PA, opaque black color with brilliant reflexes. WINDFORM® XT has been launched 18 months ago on European market with a resounding success, also after having conquered the Japanese market too. The product is claimed not only for the Italian Patent Application, but also for the US and European Patent Application, hoping to make the clients satisfied that the hi-tech and exclusive WINDFORM™ Product they have purchased from CRP will be strongly defended from any unlawful counterfeit, if the application will become a patent.”

“High mechanical and thermal properties were developed to allow to shift from simple concept models to high-end prototypes and production parts, while the Quality Politics is applied in order to held the performance closer to production technologies and suppliers: these are the last requirements for end-users and service providers looking for Rapid Manufacturing.”

Have you ever tested your parts on a real F1 car, for practice tests or a race too? So you can really make final parts and not only prototypes?

“Of course! We have done a lot of parts for F1 cars. We began with WINDFORM(R) GF, and now we use WINDFORM(R) XT first of all. We make brake ducts, air intakes, cooling ducts, parts of fuel system, bodywork flaps ….and so many other parts… I have to underline that usually we prefer to suggest to customers to use WINDFORM(R) XT for parts that require high UTS, high resistance to vibration and high thermal properties, while WINDFORM(R) GF better suits parts that are in touch with water or fuel. By the way, we made a lot of race weekends, from F1, to MotoGP, WRC…and so on. We run an entire Motorbike World Championship with the chain pad, the head cover, the water pump cover, the seat, the mudguards, some windscreens, the ariboxes of the motorbike (250 cc) all made by WINDFORM (R) GF and XT.”

“Oh, and we can make parts for final street cars: we made some parts for last Gallardo Lamborghini bodywork, and they are just….going around with absolutely no problem, they are even better maybe… The real difference in fact is that our parts, made by RP SLS and WINDFORM(R) materials, finished the race…other tried to do the same with other technology and materials and broke the parts at the pit lane end…”

What about the other main manufacturing process, the CNC machining?

“CRP's latest investment allow to machine hard material such as Aluminum MMC (Metal Matrix composites), latest material spec used in F1 for key parts as uprights. The same process was used for the scavenge pump housing in aluminium alloy (not MMC). MMC brings a unique combination of lightness, fatigue resistance, damage performance and stiffness.”

“Strengthened by addition of carbide powders, machining of metal matrix material is a fairly difficult exercise and due to high abrasivity, it can't be machined with conventional carbide tools (Widia). CRP uses Polycrystalline Diamond tools, customized on its design, and the whole facility suits perfectly to machine MMC parts.”

“CRP has achieved higher productivity and quality over carbide (Widia) tooling thanks to the machining and quality control process know-how developed in-house, thanks a long and deep experience in F1 parts supply. This way, CRP allows its racing partners to choose among many different solutions for each requirement at once; the complete service, from co-engineering, to “on track” customised parts, thanks to its four main departments: Rapid Prototyping dept, engineering&design dept, CNC machining dept and R&D dept.”
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