BMW Group plans campus for additive manufacturing
The BMW Group is investing more than 10 million euros in a new campus for additive manufacturing in Oberschleißheim, north of Munich. The company is thus further expanding its competence in additive manufacturing processes. Udo Hänle, division manager for production integration and pre-production plant: "At the Additive Manufacturing Campus, we will be able to concentrate the entire technological expertise of the BMW Group in the 3D printing process at one location. This will enable us to test new technologies early on and further expand our pioneering role. " Jens Ertel, Head of the Additive Manufacturing Center of the BMW Group and future head of the campus, adds: "The new location is a major milestone in additive manufacturing at the BMW Group.
Both in the plastics and metal sectors, we will evaluate existing and new technologies there and bring them to series maturity. The aim is to be able to provide the optimum technology and process chain for every purpose - be it for small quantities, individual parts or even for series production. " As part of the BMW Group's production network, the new campus will, like a pilot plant, advance new additive manufacturing technologies and make them available to the network. The focus is on the production of parts for prototype production, for series production and for individualized vehicle parts. In addition, the Additive Manufacturing Campus serves as an interdisciplinary training and project space, for example for development engineers.
Up to 80 employees will move into the existing building with over 6,000 square meters of floor space. The opening of the campus with more than 30 industrial metal and plastic plants is planned for early 2019. Great potential in series production and in personalized vehicle parts Additive manufacturing is an integral part of the production system of the BMW Group. There is great potential in series production. The most recent example is the use of the process in the production of the new BMW i8 Roadster *. Jens Ertel: "In the BMW i8 Roadster, the BMW Group is the first automobile manufacturer to use the 3D printing process in the metal sector in a series production of several thousand units. The new component from the 3D printer is located on the soft-top hood of the BMW i8 Roadster and serves as a mount for the hood cover. "The metal component made of an aluminum alloy has a lower weight compared to a commonly used plastic injection molded part with a significantly higher rigidity. The geometry of the component, which is based on bionic, that is, on the constructions of nature, has been optimized for 3D printing. Even with individualized vehicle parts, additive manufacturing is becoming increasingly important.
Among other things, the new product program MINI Yours Customised allows customers to design selected components such as the inserts of the side indicators and trim strips of the dashboard according to their individual ideas and then have them produced in 3D printing. Decentralized production - production follows the market In the long term, the BMW Group sees great potential in producing the components where they are needed. Jens Ertel: "The 3D printers distributed via the international production network are a first step in this direction. For example, we are already printing prototype parts locally in our plants in Spartanburg (USA), Shenyang (China) and Rayong (Thailand). In the case of small series, country editions and customizable components, integration into local production structures is conceivable in the future if advantages can be achieved as a result. "
In the future, additive manufacturing processes can meaningfully supplement existing production technologies. Investments in the framework of BMW i Ventures Investments in start-ups have proved promising both strategically and economically and represent a sustainable strategic added value for the BMW Group. In September 2016, BMW i Ventures - the venture unit of the BMW Group - invested in Silicon Valley-based Carbon. With the DLS technology (Digital Light Synthesis), Carbon made a breakthrough in the areal processes.
Using these printing technologies, significantly larger areas can be processed faster than with conventional selective 3D printing. The cooperation with the BMW Group has already existed since 2015. Another investment in additive manufacturing was made in February 2017: Start-up Desktop Metal specializes in the additive manufacturing of metal parts and develops innovative and highly productive manufacturing processes in this area. Here, too, there is close cooperation with the Additive Manufacturing Center of the BMW Group.