Automotive Engineering - March 2021 - 12

TECHNOLOGY REPORT

MANUFACTURING

German OEMs flex 3D manufacturing muscle

Porsche's 3D-printed complete housing
for an electric drive motor/transmission passed
all of the company's stress and quality measures.

12 March 2021

made via selective layer sintering and
multi-jet fusion. At the campus, engineers
join with production and materials experts to evaluate " hundreds of components, focusing throughout on the economic benefits of the new technology,
and on the weight and geometry advantages compared with conventionally
manufactured parts. " BMW selected components for 3D printing based on metrics
Rack of components
3D-printed in a selective
laser melting process
perfected at BMW's Additive
Manufacturing Campus
near Munich.

FROM TOP: PORSCHE; BMW

A chief impediment for wider adoption
of additive manufacturing long has been
its limited potential for application in
high-volume and high-throughput production. But continuing process and
technique developments from automakers and suppliers are moving additive
manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, closer to high-volume Valhalla, while
also enabling production of increasingly
complex and substantial components.
BMW has sporadically fitted specialized 3D-printed parts - both metal and
polymer - in series-production models for
more than a decade. Recently it has used
its Rolls-Royce brand as a platform for
introducing 3D-printing innovations in a
low-volume but high-expectation environment. And in mid-2020, BMW invested some 15 million euros to establish its
Additive Manufacturing Campus near
Munich to research and develop new 3D
printing processes and other innovations
that might accelerate the potential for
3D-printed components at large scale.
The company said the facility symbolizes
its confidence that 3D printing is poised
to enable new manufacturing vistas.
Parts currently produced at the new
facility included polymer components

defined and translated into machine language. This marked the start of " a new AI
system enabling the BMW Group to identify faster and earlier on which components could potentially be produced by
3D printing, " according to the company.
Moreover, it is encouraged about 3D
printing's future because it can enable
previously impractical, or even impossible, component designs. And creating
components in a math-based environment dedicated to additive manufacturing end production can result in the most
efficient use of materials, as well as help
assure optimum weight optimization.
BMW claims to have produced more
than 300,000 components via additive
manufacturing in 2019. Milan
Nedeljkovic, BMW AG board member for
production said at the inauguration of
the Additive Manufacturing Campus:
" Additive manufacturing is already an
integral part of our worldwide production system today and established in our
digitalization strategy. In the future, new
technologies of this kind will shorten
production times even further and allow
us to benefit even more fully from the
potential of toolless manufacturing. "
The new facility employs approximately 80 associates and operates
about 50 processes for additive manufacture of both metal and plastic components. Another 50 systems are in

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