Additive manufacturing is already out of the experimental stage, explained the BMW board member responsible for production, Milan Nedeljković, at the opening of the new campus. With this innovative technology, the company hopes to be able to further reduce production times in the future.
An important goal of the company is to industrialize 3D printing processes for automobile production and to implement new automation concepts in the process chain, said Daniel Schäfer, Head of Production Integration at the BMW Group. "This will make the manufacture of components for the series production of automobiles more economical and we are helping to accelerate development processes".
Over the course of almost 30 years, the automaker has built up expertise in the field of additive manufacturing. Last year, the BMW Group produced about 300,000 parts using 3D printing. Currently, up to 80 employees work in the competence center; about 50 industrial 3D metal and plastics production systems are already in operation.
The development of 3D competence at BMW has also been achieved through cooperation with machine manufacturers and universities as well as technology scouting for newcomers. In 2016, BMW i Ventures - BMW Group’s venture unit - invested in Carbon, a company based in Silicon Valley. With DLS (Digital Light Synthesis) technology, Carbon achieved a breakthrough flat processes that can be used to significantly accelerate production.