BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Centre

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The BMW Group has successfully used 3D printing technologies for more than 25 years. Many areas already enjoy the benefits of additively-manufactured components. Classic examples of additive manufacturing are areas where customised and, in some cases, highly complex components are required in small quantities – mainly in pre-development, vehicle validation and testing or for concept and show cars, but also small series production. In this way, the company is constantly working to harness new additive methods for vehicles from prototypes to classic cars. However, the methods are also utilised in tool-making and manufacturing equipment. The BMW Group celebrated the first successful use of this technology in small-series production in 2010, with the additively-manufactured water pump wheel still fitted in DTM vehicles to this day.

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With its BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of cars and motorcycles and a provider of premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly plants in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network with representatives in over 140 countries. The use of 3D printed parts is becoming increasingly important for the BMW Group. In the past ten years alone, the company has produced more than one million components for use in, for example, test vehicle construction and end-customer vehicles. As part of POLYLINE, the BMW Group is drawing up a catalogue of requirements to ensure that the production line developed meets the standards of the automotive industry and can therefore be integrated into existing production structures. In the future, the demonstrator line will be set up in the new Additive Manufacturing Campus near Munich. There, cause-and-effect relationships will be jointly researched as part of the project.

The Additive Manufacturing Centre team at the FIZ handles nearly 25,000 prototype orders annually and delivers more than 100,000 components per year to customers within the BMW Group. The spectrum ranges from small plastic holders to design samples to metal chassis components for functional testing. Depending on the process used and size of the parts, components are often available within just a few days.

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