MUNICH: The BMW Group will invest more than 10 million euros in a new Additive Manufacturing Campus.
Located in Oberschleissheim, just north of Munich, the facility is due to open in early 2019 and will concentrate the full spectrum of the BMW Group’s 3D printing expertise at a single location.
Udo Hänle, Head of Production Integration and Pilot Plant: “This will allow us to test new technologies early on and continue developing our pioneering role.”
Jens Ertel, Head of the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Center and the future campus director, adds: “The team there will evaluate new and existing technologies in both plastics and metals printing and develop them to series maturity.”
Much of the work carried out there will focus on parts manufacturing for prototype construction, series production and customised solutions.
The Additive Manufacturing Campus will also act as an interdisciplinary training and project area, for instance for development engineers.
Located in an existing building with a footprint of over 6,000 square metres, it will accommodate up to 80 associates and over 30 industrial systems for metals and plastics.
Most recently, additive manufacturing was used to generate parts for the BMW i8 Roadster.
Jens Ertel: “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.”
Made of aluminium alloy, the printed item is lighter than the normal injection-moulded equivalent but significantly more rigid.
Additive manufacturing is also gaining importance for customised components.
The new MINI Yours Customised programme, for example, allows customers to design certain components themselves. Indicator inlays and dashboard trim strips, for instance, can be 3D-printed to their precise specifications.
Decentralising manufacturing – production follows the market
The BMW Group expects that, with time, it will become possible to produce components directly where they are ultimately needed – an idea that harbours tremendous potential.
Jens Ertel: “We are already using additive manufacturing to make prototype components on location in Spartanburg (US), Shenyang (China) and Rayong (Thailand)."