Great ideas need to be brought to fruition in a great and state-of-the-art product. The production process makes everything possible.
THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE PRODUCT IS IN THE AKRAPOVIČ DESIGN
Every component of an Akrapovič exhaust is carefully designed and constructed by a highly skilled multidisciplinary team of industrial designers, engineers, and architects; they meet challenges every day, combining a technical solution with an attractive, modern, and state-of-the-art design and taking it to the next level. This demonstrates that boundaries in the design world can be broken, leading to many impressive and prestigious honours for the ground-breaking exhausts the company has produced − including Red Dot product design awards. Akrapovič has received true recognition of all it has accomplished.
Our signature hexagonal muffler took the world by storm when it was introduced to the motorcycle market in 2005. A new conical muffler represented a new level of evolution; it provides a sharper racing sound and faster acceleration. In recent years, new designs of our exhaust systems and composite parts have been developed with new innovative shapes and effects. More is yet to come – stay tuned!
PROTOTYPING, DEVELOPMENT & TESTING
The development process starts in a 3D CAD/CAM environment with a 3D scan of the reference car’s underbody. Using CAE simulations combined with measurements, Akrapovič exhaust systems are evaluated and optimized for structural rigidity, fatigue, and thermal loads.
The best prototype configuration is developed and evaluated on a chassis dyno, measuring torque, power, temperatures, and backpressure.
Durability of an exhaust system is very important for Akrapovič, and therefore a new motorcycle durability dyno was introduced in 2018. This fully autonomous system using a driving robot is programmed to run the exact duty cycle and accumulate mileage.
Furthermore, our newly developed products are tested on the most challenging racetracks around the world in partnership with dozens of top-notch racing teams.
THE HARMONY OF MATERIALS
Akrapovič shows attention to detail for the highest grade of base materials that is second to none in the premier exhaust category. Its fully equipped metallurgical laboratory for metallography assessment is a necessary tool for evaluating the properties and quality of products and gauging the end results. Through the use of over 20-years of in-house knowledge and technologies in handling special materials for exhaust systems, such as titanium, stainless steel, and aluminium alloys, Akrapovič devotes meticulous care to chemical compositions and gas content, which is crucial for the quality of cast titanium parts. Hardness and micro-hardness measurements, tensile properties, plastic properties and formability determinations are carried out for all incoming and new materials by a team of highly skilled engineers. Such regular procedures ensure the highest quality of the final product and the use of the best materials.
Akrapovič exhaust systems are crafted from proprietary titanium alloys. These are three times stronger than other “commercial” alloys available. Their high quality and strength make them more difficult to form than common alloys, but they ensure products that are substantially more durable and dimensionally more stable, and have significantly increased heat resistance. Titanium is 40% lighter than stainless steel; as such, it helps improve performance and handling.
Akrapovič carbon-fibre components are produced in-house with temperature-resistant carbon-fibre composites. Through innovative production techniques, the company can produce parts with very complex shapes in various sizes. These handcrafted high-quality materials are used as parts of exhaust systems such as carbon-fibre muffler outer sleeves and heatshields on motorcycles, and the appearance of a car can be further improved with handcrafted carbon-fibre rear diffusers and carbon-fibre tailpipes. There are many benefits of using a composite material like carbon-fibre; it weighs as little as an eighth of stainless steel, and its tensile strength can be eighty times greater per unit weight compared to steel.
Austenitic stainless steel is renowned for its good corrosion resistance, improved high-temperature properties, and enhanced formability. For steel exhaust parts, only high-grade austenitic stainless steels are used to manufacture our exhaust systems.
The family of nickel-based super alloys that are alloyed with chrome, molybdenum, and niobium are also commercially known as Inconel alloys. These kinds of alloys have exceptional mechanical properties at extremely low and high temperatures. They are also extremely resistant to corrosion and corrosive acids (both surface resistance and at the crystal level) and have very high oxidation resistance (they can be used at temperatures above 1,000 °C). Due to their excellent mechanical properties, they can be half as thick as stainless steel for use at elevated temperatures.
All major material properties are checked and evaluated in our material testing laboratory, which directly supports foundry, production and R&D activities.
Regular monitoring, ongoing evaluations alongside testing of standardized and new advanced materials, semi-finished products, and final products during the production process ensure the highest quality standard for the end product.
The purpose of the testing is to understand material behaviour and its limits to improve the long-term sustainability of final products.
In the Akrapovič measuring laboratory, prototype, exhaust system and cast part measurements are carried out with a Zeiss Contura measuring machine, a GOM Atos Triplescan III scanning camera, a Romer Sigma measuring arm and other ultra-precision measuring equipment.
Measurements on motorcycles and cars are performed with the Romer mobile measuring arm and GOM Atos Triplescan III scanning camera.
An exhaust system is like a musical instrument, converting rough pressure pulsations from combustion to sound, which defines the overall character and appearance of the vehicle. Akrapovič is taking the sound of the exhaust system to the next level, while a team of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) engineers carefully tune every tube, muffler and tailpipe to a specific vehicle. Prototypes are designed with attention to detail to extract the best-possible sound potential. Every prototype is measured with state-of-the-art measuring equipment, which measures the sound of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. In addition to sound, many other vehicle parameters, such as vehicle speed, rpm, exhaust gas temperatures and vibrations, are measured and correlated with the assessed sound. Data is processed in the frequency domain and converted to 3D graphs, also known as colour maps. Every colour map represents an exhaust system’s sound signature, its identity card, where the sound level is presented in dependence on frequency and rpm. The team of engineers spends countless days searching for the perfect balance of sound, navigating between sporty and comfortable, refined and rough, quiet and loud. Prototypes are constantly being improved through on-road tests, dyno testing, acoustic transmission loss, flow testing and simulations until the required sound perfection is achieved. The sound itself is ultimately still in the domain of the engineers’ subjective judgement, but is supported by objective sound engineering data. Every step in the creation of an exhaust system, from development to production, is careful planned – to the last detail and to the last millimetre.
Great ideas need to be brought to fruition in a brilliant and state-of-the-art product. Production process makes this possible. It is a synthesis of expertise from various engineering spheres such as tube making, bending, tube and material forming, welding, assembly processing, modern CNC machining, quality inspection and many others. Of course, the basis for everything is proper tooling – it is the key to success. The company boasts an in-house tooling design and tooling workshop, so it is able to design and produce unique tools and jigs. Furthermore, Akrapovič has over 20-years of experience using titanium alloys for exhaust system applications.