At Bott, we enjoy the prospect of a new engineering challenge, which is why when Chris Dee from Bloodhound’s assembly team mentioned they were having difficulties shaping stringers for the front floor pan of their supersonic car, we were only too happy to offer assistance and advice.
The crux of Bloodhound’s problem was this: The lengths of titanium being used to create the stringers was simply too tough to be bent by Bloodhound’s own press brake machine. Titanium’s incredible strength to weight ratio, not to mention its high resistance to heat and corrosion makes it the perfect material for high performance engineering. Unfortunately, the same assets that make it perfect for Bloodhound’s car can also make it difficult to successfully shape.
The press brake operators at Bott were keen to put their expertise and machinery to the test and create enough titanium stringers for the front floor pan of Bloodhound’s car, but it soon became apparent that shaping the unfamiliar material would be no easy task. The sheer strength of the titanium meant that bending the material required an older press brake with a higher tonnage and on top of this, the method used to bend the mild steel used for most Bott products had to be adapted, ‘over bending’ the titanium to ensure it retained the correct shape when removed from the machine.
Even the combined forces of Dave Tuffs who is part of the Bloodhound build team and Graham Bate, who has over 8 years’ experience using Bott’s brake press machines, had trouble adapting the shaping process to cope with the toughness of the titanium. Afterwards Graham observed that “It was a real struggle to get the material to bend. I have never worked with anything anywhere near as strong”.
After a long and difficult day working at correctly shaping the titanium, the combined forces of Bott and Bloodhound were given their just reward in the shape of enough stringers to make the front floor pan of the supersonic car. Ultimately, overcoming this engineering challenge was a testament to the working relationship between the two companies and here at Bott, we are proud to have been able to support Bloodhound SSC in their attempt to break the world land speed record.