The BMW Group will invest more than €10 million a 3D printing campus. The latter will be located in the North of Munich, especially in Oberschleissheim.
The activities of the campus will be focused on parts manufacturing for prototype construction, series production and customized solutions. The centre will also play the role of an interdisciplinary training and project area for development engineers for example.
3D printing in BMW Group Production System
For the manufacturer, additive manufacturing harbours a true potential for series production. Just remember the recently launched i8 Roadster that integrates tons of 3D printed metal parts in its fabrication. The printed item is lighter than the normal injection-moulded equivalent but significantly more rigid. Its ‘bionic’ geometry, inspired by forms found in nature, was optimised for 3D printing purposes.
Jens Ertel explained that: “With the BMW i8 Roadster, the BMW Group became the first carmaker to 3D-print a production run of several thousand metal parts. The component concerned is a fixture in the tonneau cover for the soft-top.”
Speaking of the increasing adoption of customised components, it is impossible to not mention the new MINI Yours Customised programme, that enables customers to design certain components themselves.
The idea behind this concept of production is to decentralize manufacturing
For the BMW Group, the aim is not to focus on AM but above all to combine this manufacturing technique with existing techniques. The company expects that, with time, “it will become possible to produce components directly where they are ultimately needed.”
As far as digital production methods for vehicle development are concerned, it should be noted that components are only realised using digital data, eliminating the need for classic tools such as press tools and injection moulds. To date, the technology is most commonly used for small production runs of customised and often highly complex components.
Last, this adoption of AM also implies a few investments from the company. The Silicon Valley-based company Carbon, Xometry as well as Desktop Metal are part of the companies that benefited from an investment of BMW Group. They represent a sustainable strategic value add.
Activities of the campus will officially start in early 2019, and it will accommodate up to 80 associates.
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