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Video: BMW Relies On Additive Manufacturing
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
The BMW Group is strategically expanding its competencies in 3D printing: among other things, mini-customers can use a configurator to design individual components, and the Group is also working on integrating additive manufacturing into large series.
Now our sister portal Mission Additive had the opportunity to work with Dr. Maximilian Meixlsperger, Head of Additive Manufacturing Metal at the BMW Group, to talk about his company's 3D printing strategy.
Mission Additive: Which project in the field of additive manufacturing is most important for your company in 2020?
Maximilian Meixlsperger: In the 2020s, we expect an immense increase in additive manufacturing towards mass production. We are systematically preparing for this and will continue to push ahead with the use of additive manufacturing (AM) this year. An important component for us is the opening of the Additive Manufacturing Campusbe in Oberschleissheim near Munich. There we will manufacture components for prototype construction, series production, for the individualization of our vehicles, spare parts as well as production aids. For the first time, we will fully integrate the production of customized parts for a vehicle into our production system: the 3D-printed shift paddles and steering wheel clasp made of aluminum and the decorative strip made of plastic are among the highlights of the new Mini John Cooper Works GP.
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On our newly installed training area, we will share our technology know-how with our colleagues from vehicle development in order to further establish the application of the processes and to strengthen our internal AM network. At the same time, we will test new technologies in our own pre-development areas and bring them to series production.
Together with the Fraunhofer Institute and other project partners, we are already working intensively on the IDAM research project to introduce metallic additive manufacturing across the board as an industrialized and highly automated series process in automobile production. We want to lay an important foundation stone to sustainably strengthen Germany's technological pioneering role and Germany as a production location. The integration of additive manufacturing into the conventional production lines of the automotive industry makes it possible to replace costly and time-consuming processes such as the manufacture of molds and to meet the request for product adaptation without additional costs.
We also continue to develop the entire process chain for plastic-based additive manufacturing. The aim of the recently approved research project POLYLINE is to further develop additive manufacturing with polymer-based laser sintering (LS) into an automated and even more efficient production process. Process steps are to be digitally networked and a consistent methodology for quality assurance is to be developed along the entire process. For this we will record and document all key parameters and quality criteria - from the CAD model to the finished component.
Additive manufacturing at BMW
Picture gallery with 10 pictures
Mission Additive: In which development do you see the greatest opportunities for AM?
Meixlsperger: For us, AM is clearly one of the most promising manufacturing processes of the future. This is precisely why we work intensively with tech start-ups, universities and industrial partners to further exploit the potential of this new technology and to position ourselves even more flexibly in terms of design and functionality of future components in more agile development processes. We take a look at the entire process chain - starting with the data set, the materials, the plant technology and the IT systems. We still see significant potential in both materials and digitized process chains.
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Mission Additive: At what point is there the greatest pinch in additive manufacturing today?
Meixlsperger: The biggest challenge in additive manufacturing is still the comparatively high process and material costs. These result primarily from the low system productivity in relation to conventional manufacturing processes with high machine costs. Depending on the component size and complexity, this results in certain break-even quantities, which are often still very small. In our view, the standardization of interfaces and acceptance criteria for AM systems is necessary.
The right materials are essential for the later areas of application of the component. Because together with the process control and the design they result in the respective component properties. Depending on the technology, these raw materials have to meet different requirements. The layered structure means that the materials for plastics and metals face different challenges in terms of processing and generating the required part properties. Here, too, standards are necessary in order to achieve scaling in which the material costs can decrease with a view to the quantity produced, thus enabling the technologies to be used economically.
Numerous materials conventionally used in the automotive sector cannot be processed today using additive manufacturing. Here we see further research needs.
This article first appeared on our partner portal Mission Additive.
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