Apr 16, 2018 | By David

German automotive giant BMW has announced that it will soon be launching a new 3D printing facility, to help further the implementation of the technology in its manufacturing processes. The new Additive Manufacturing Campus will cost around 10 million Euros ($12 million) to build, and it will be located in Oberschleissheim, just north of Munich. It is expected to open sometime in 2019.

(credit: BMW)

The Additive Manufacturing Campus will be located in an existing building with a footprint of over 6,000 square metres, and it is expected to accommodate up to 80 associates and over 30 industrial systems for metals and plastics. The main focus of the building will parts for production for rapid prototyping as well as series production and customized solutions. The latest breakthroughs in the 3D printing field will be trialled in this facility, which will have a similar function to existing pilot plants. It will also enable a new level of interdisciplinary collaboration and training, for engineers and designers at different levels of the BMW manufacturing chain.

BMW was ahead of the curve in terms of adoption of 3D printing technology, having already established a dedicated Additive Manufacturing Center in Munich. This facility produces over 100,000 components each year, making use of FDM as well as more advanced metal AM processes. Its output ranges from prototypes to discontinued parts for classic cars, as well as small plastic mountings and highly-complex chassis parts made of metal.

(source: BMW)

According to Jens Ertel, Head of the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Center, ''Our new facility will be a major milestone in additive manufacturing at the BMW Group. The team there will evaluate new and existing technologies in both plastics and metals printing and develop them to series maturity. Our goal is to provide the optimum technology and process chain, be it for individual components, small production runs or even large-scale manufacturing.''

BMW was one of the first automotive companies to have a production run of several thousand 3D printed metal parts. These were for the BMW i8 Roadster. Its soft-top cover had a 3D printed aluminum alloy component, with an advanced new bionic design, inspired by natural forms. This gave it a higher level of rigidity than an injection-molded equivalent, as well as making it more lightweight.

(source: DriveMag)

As well as using additive manufacturing for prototyping and final production parts, BMW has strategically invested in the development of new technologies, through various promising 3D printing start-ups. In September 2016, for example, the BMW Group’s venture capital arm, BMW i Ventures, invested in the Silicon Valley-based company Carbon, which had been working with BMW since 2015. Carbon’s DLS (digital light synthesis) 3D printing technology presents a groundbreaking new way to produce large parts with high-quality surfaces.

In June 2017 the BMW Group invested in Xometry, a company which offers an advanced online platform that facilitates the co-ordination of the supply chain between different sectors. In the same year, pioneering metal 3D printing firm Desktop Metal received BMW’s financial backing, and it now works closely with the BMW Additive Manufacturing Center.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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