BMW revealed a futuristic 3D printed chassis for its BMW S1000RR sports bike. It comes just days after it announced its plans to invest €10 million in a new Additive Manufacturing (AM) Campus in Germany. The completely 3D printed chassis along with a swingarm is a design marvel and nothing short of an alien vehicle.
The revelation came at the company’s Digital Day in Mallorca. The company has left a lot on guesswork as it did not reveal much apart from the fact that it is completely 3D printed, but it sure sends out a message about the capabilities developed by the company over the years. BMW has been a pioneer in using 3D printing technology in the automotive sector and has an experience of nearly 27 years.
Speaking at the event, BMW only explained the additive manufacturing process, “three-dimensional parts made from plastic or metal take shape layer by layer. Additively manufactured parts offer a high degree of freedom in terms of their design, and they can be produced quickly and to the requisite quality. There is no need for traditional production tools such as press or casting moulds; the geometry of the parts is determined entirely by a digital dataset.”
Currently, the automotive sector uses 3D printing majorly for fulfilling their prototyping needs. As the prototypes can be built quickly reducing the testing lead times. Any changes in the design can be easily incorporated and models can be modifications.
However, BMW aims to use this revolutionary technology in the mass production of vehicles. Recently, it was revealed that some 3D printed parts are already in use in Rolls Royce models. Rolls Royce is a BMW subsidiary and has access to BMW’s huge additive manufacturing experience.
BMW says that the new BMW i8 Roadster uses a powder bed fusion technology for manufacturing some of the metal components. Moreover, BMW also sees great potential in mass customisation as recently seen in MINI to personalise accessories.
It explains, “Additive manufacturing is also playing an increasingly important role when it comes to customised vehicle parts. The new MINI Yours Customised product line enables customers to personalise the design of selected components, such as side scuttles and trim strips, and then have them produced by means of 3D printing.”
Even though a complete 3D printed vehicle is still many years away but BMW has surely taken a step in that direction.
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