Powder metallurgy (PM) specialist GKN and Porsche Engineering have joined forces to look into reducing the weight of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electrical vehicles (HEVs) by using additive manufacturing (AM) technology.

They will look into time to market contraction, functional integration through the technology´s design freedom, improved material development and functional and process improved part design.

The teams redesigned an existing GKN differential housing with the final drive ring gear, one of the heaviest units in the transmission.

In a conventional differential, the ring gear and the differential housing are separate parts with different attributes, typically assembled with a set of screws. The ring gear is usually made of case hardening steel, hardened and grinded for maximum preciseness. The differential housing is normally cast and ensures the torque transfer from ring gear to center bolt and bevel gears. However, using a AM process and applying GKN's PM knowledge in material and development, there was a significant optimization in weight, inertia and stiffness of the new part.

One simulation showed a potential to reduce weight by 13% and inertia by 8%.. Looking at specific small series and high-performance applications, the replacement of conventional series parts comes into closer reach.

The technology will be on show at the CTI Symposium on Automotive Transmissions taking place in Berlin, Germany from 4–7 December 2017 and GKN’s presentation with Porsche is on 6 December at 11:30 am.

This story is reprinted from material from GKNwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.