Dec 17, 2015 | By Kira

Renishaw has officially joined the UK’s Land Rover BAR Technical Innovation Group (TIG) as an official supplier, providing its 3D printing expertise in an attempt to give the Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team a competitive edge in the America’s Cup sailing challenge. If they succeed, it will be the first time in the race’s 164-year history that the Cup goes home with a British team, making the stakes that much higher for the additive manufacturing solutions expert.

The America’s Cup is a sailing race between two yachts, the defender (the previous winner) and a new challenger. The Cup is the oldest international trophy in the world, going all the way back to 1851 and thus pre-dating even the modern Olympics. Despite its long history, however, the Cup has never been won by a British team. In the upcoming 2017 race in Bermuda, the UK's Ben Ainslie, winner of four Olympic gold sailing medals, will try to lead his Land Rover BAR team to victory against the reigning champions, Oracle Team USA. In what could go down as a historic moment in sporting history, the entire team has turned to some of the most cutting-edge and futuristic technologies available, including 3D printing.

Renishaw offers a ‘total solution’ for additive manufacturing, from systems, metal powders, ancillaries and software through to expert advice and support service. At this year’s Formnext, the company revealed two new metal additive manufacturing systems, the RenAM 500M and AM400, as well as a new build preparation software package, QuantAM. In joining the Land Rover BAR Technical Innovation Group, Renishaw is committing to sharing its metal 3D printing knowledge to help optimize the design and construction of critical 3D printed metal parts for the racing boats. The company will also contribute its expertise and advice in position feedback encoding technology.

Metal 3D printed manifold for Land Rover BAR produced on Renishaw additive manufacturing system

“We are a first-time challenger for the America’s Cup, and only one challenger has ever won it at the first attempt,” said Ainslie. “We want to leave no stone unturned in our search for new technologies that will help us to bring the Cup home. That’s why we have developed the Technical Innovation Group and are pleased to have the support of Renishaw.”

The Technical Innovation Group was formed to bring together various advanced technologies to help give the BAR team an extra competitive edge they hit the water. In addition to Renishaw, the TIG has engaged the R&D expertise of other suppliers from the British high-tech and manufacturing industries, including Land Rover, BT and BAE Systems.

“As a British engineering company with core skills in precision and performance, combined with expertise in position encoding and metal 3D printing, we are delighted to have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the TIG and help Land Rover BAR bring the America's Cup back to Britain,” said Robin Weston, Marketing Manager of Renishaw.

Though the 35th edition of the America’s Cup sailing challenge will not take place until 2017, there is no doubt that both BAR’s team and current champions Oracle Team USA will be hard at work—not only training, but seeking out the most technologically advanced solutions that will give them the edge they need in what could be a historic race. Indeed, this story has all the makings of a Hollywood-worthy narrative, and we can't wait to see what role 3D printing will play in the final showdown.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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