From the idea to the finished product.
The engine protection for the R 1250 GS, the F 750/850 GS and F 850 GS Adventure.
The standard protective components at Wunderlich include decent engine protection for all GS models. This is simply what our customers expect. As soon as BMW Motorcycle presents a new GS, we start receiving the initial customer queries and this includes questions about the engine protection. After all, in developing engine protection elements we have been able to gather a wealth of specialist experience across many generations of the GS.
Using the engine protection »EXTREME« as an example, we would like to show you a typical development process for a proprietary Wunderlich product.
We always start with gathering together all ideas as part of a brainstorming session in our development department. Joining us: Nicolas Petit, our designer. No thought is off-limits. It’s the struggle for the best suggestions, for the best ideas. At the end of it, we get a product idea, the product concept as a result of combining the best ideas. In the process, we integrate the expertise of our active race and test riders, our development technicians and our mechanics.
First, our developers collate the requirements for new components in a list. This list has a specific name for technicians and engineers: the specification sheet. The specification sheet for a Wunderlich engine protection unit contains various fundamental requirements that the finished product has to fulfil. For the engine protection, these are the following starting points:
- Maximum protection for engine and aggregates
- High rigidity and mechanical sturdiness versus
- mechanical stress
- Minimal weight
- Maximum protection with the best
- ground and lean angle clearance
- Secure attachment
- Product design or shape that only offers a small area
- of attack, that avoids levering or hooking of the bike
- over terrain
- Shock-absorbing attachment
- Openings so that the water can flow off freely after
- crossing rivers
- Good accessibility for maintenance
- Optimum constructive integration
- Functional design
- Integrated design
The focus is aimed especially at maximum protection and an optimum relationship between component rigidity and weight.
We apply our tried and tested evaluation matrix to the individual requirements. When it came to fulfilling the most important requirements, we were certain from the start that we wanted to further minimise the weight of the engine protection for the latest GS generation of the R and F models while simultaneously increasing component rigidity. At the same time, the engine protection should sit as snugly as possible. This reduced the frontal area of attack and achieves the maximum ground and angle clearance.
One unique challenge was also the fact that, unlike the Boxer engine of the R 1250 GS), the series engine of the F750/850 GS is asymmetrical. This is clearly visible on the side with the alternator and clutch and also in the contour of the manifold, which extends obliquely in front of the engine. The asymmetrical design of the engine protection makes the development of the form and the design more complicated.
Design development and construction
Wunderlich components are characterised by their constructive and formal integration. Our designer Nicolas Petit stands for this principle, as do our engineers. Both the designer and engineer work hand in hand. Initial sketches lead to more sketches. When the final form crystallises from these sketches, it takes on a third dimension and forms the necessary models or specimens. Just like in this case.
The link points to the machines and the design specimens are in turn scanned with our ultra-modern 3D scanning system, which transmits the component geometry and surface form to the CAD system with top precision. This then processed all of the data, digitalises the engine so to speak, and then generates the necessary data. This generates a differentiated, three-dimensional object with realistic spatial surfaces (rendering).
This digital data, which is smoothed out and adapted on the CAD computer, is fed by our developers into our ultra-modern 3D printer, which produces the prototypes in the rapid prototyping plastic printing process. Depending on the complexity of the parts to be printed, the printing process can take anywhere up to several hours. This printed prototype of the engine protection is then adjusted to the motorcycle. Given the accuracy and precision that we work with, only minimal corrections are to be expected. All of the significant component data is therefore defined and the drawing data can be relayed to the manufacturing workshops: in this case, to a German specialist for hydroforming, who manufactures our »Extreme« engine protection for the F 750/850 GS and the R 1250 GS.
Treading new paths in manufacturing technology: the hydroforming process
There are various processes for manufacturing an engine protection unit: classically through forming processes (edges) or via conventional joining (screw connections, rivets) of individual component segments to the whole. We are always faced with restrictions when it comes to these processes, however, because these manufacturing processes limit the freedom to freely determine a shape and geometries in three dimensions at the end. An exception: welding processes in which segments with small parts are fixed together. These processes are work and energy-intensive.
With the engine protection »EXTREME« for the current GS models from BMW, we have gone down a new and innovative route for the first time in order to fulfil the requirements that were set.
Wunderlich manufactures the engine protection »EXTREME« using the production technology-challenging and advanced hydroforming manufacturing process. This is a technological advancement on the deep-drawing process in which the part to be moulded is deep-drawn in the moulding matrix under high hydraulic pressure. The working pressures applied during this moulding process can be up to 4,000 bar. This corresponds to a water column of 40,000 m! To compare: the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, is around 11,000 m deep and the water pressure is roughly 1,100 bar. The requirements for the quality of the machines in terms of tightness and bending rigidity are also enormous. Yet the advantages are unbeatable: the high pressures ensure precise formation of the component geometry at the same time as lower springback. With our engine protection, the internal stresses of our components are also kept low due to the draw depth.
This allows us to realise complex component forms and geometries (especially asymmetrical ones, as with the F750/850 GS) in which we can achieve lower weight and simultaneously realise high component rigidities and mechanical stability through optimisation of the material thickness. The result is a resistant, weight and form-optimised engine protection that moulds so tightly and organically to the assembly that the design principle of »form follows function« becomes self-evident.
Wunderlich BLAU in the development department
Our sensitised, serious discussion of sustainability within the framework of Wunderlich BLAU also plays an important role in the minds of our developers. In the truest sense of the word: weight savings also save fuel, just like a minimised front silhouette that can positively influence airflow resistance. Less weight means fewer materials used, which in turn means the use of fewer resources. Small steps, admittedly, but ones that can be implemented with no effort and that always help with optimisation.
The result is clear to see!
The Wunderlich »EXTREME« engine protection.
The functional, integrated design reduces the area of attack and avoids unpleasant levering or jamming of the vehicle over terrain, no matter whether from branches, scree or rocks. Openings ensure that water picked up during river crossings can flow out freely again. Typically Wunderlich, the team have made sure that you have good, unrestricted access during maintenance works: for example, an opening has been included for unhindered drainage of the engine oil. The aluminium engine protection is corrosion-resistant and the generated forces and vibrations are absorbed by impact-decoupling attachment elements. It comes in two versions, silver colours or black powder-coated. Our »EXTREME« engine protection is Made in Germany. That's why we're happy to provide a 5-year warranty.