A bit of the royal wedding at Messe Erfurt


The BMW Group is set to present custom 3D printed vehicle parts showcased in a MINI, and to introduce the BMW i8 Roadster with the first additively manufactured metal series part, at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D

MINI, part of the BMW Group, has created an exclusive one-of-a-kind vehicle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The car is to be auctioned off for charity. This three-door model boasts, among other things, a unique hand-painted roof graphic as well as personalised components such as inlays around the indicators and decorative strips in the interior, all created by 3D printing. A similarly designed model will be at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D from 5 to 7 June 2018 in Erfurt – with inlays and decorative strips in the Messe design. Innovative methods such as 3D printing allow these customised elements to be manufactured rapidly.
Customised vehicle parts, such as those produced in the MINI Yours Customised product programme, are an integral component of BMW’s additive manufacturing strategy. The automotive manufacturer is already producing more than 140,000 parts a year using additive manufacturing methods and will soon be concentrating its technology expertise in an additive manufacturing campus, set to open in early 2019. This campus will advance not only vehicle customisation, but also the production of prototype, spare and series parts.

The BMW Group is already tapping into the potential for series manufacture. The latest example is the use of 3D printing in the production of the new BMW i8 Roadster. The additively manufactured metal part is located in the soft top hood and serves as a hood cover mount. The BMW Group is the first automotive manufacturer to use 3D metal printing in a series production of several thousand pieces. The metal component, made from an aluminium alloy, is lower in weight and higher in rigidity than a conventional plastic injection moulded part. The bionic, or nature-inspired, geometry of the component was optimised for 3D printing. A BMW i8 Roadster with the innovatively manufactured part will also be presented in Erfurt. Experts will explain BMW’s additive manufacturing roadmap in several presentations at the Rapid.Tech conference.

“This is the first time we will be presenting our additive manufacturing expertise in this condensed form to a professional audience. Rapid.Tech is one of the key German events in this sector and so is exactly the right place for it,” said Dr Dominik Rietzel from the BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center. He will be opening this year’s Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D on 5 June with his “Driving AM forward – the path from initial prototype to series production” keynote speech, speaking in particular about the possibilities in product customisation with 3D printing. In the Automotive Industry forum on the same day, Stefanus Stahl will show how the SLM process has been industrialised and transferred into the first automotive series application with the BMW i8 Roadster. The clever combination of design and material choice allows for entirely new component properties, as can be observed in 3D printed foams. Martin Friedrich will talk about the qualification of additively manufactured foams and their usage in the vehicle development process at the Users Conference on 7 June.

The Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D international trade fair and conference for additive technologies will take place from 5 to 7 June 2018 at Messe Erfurt. The event is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. It has been held in Erfurt since 2004, and is a pioneer of 3D printing technologies on an international level. Its comprehensive conference programme, the only one of its kind, also includes the Users Conference and AM Science forum being held on 6 and 7 June respectively. New this year, held across both days, will be the Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum. Another new forum on Law will be held on 5 June, alongside the Contract Additive Manufacturing, Automotive Industry, Design, and Tool, Mould and Fixture Making forums. The 3D-Printed Electronics & Functionality and 3D Metal Printing forums will follow on 6 June, with the Aviation forum on 7 June closing the three-day long fair.

The 3D printing community will once again come together on all three days for the 3D Printing Conference. As well as discussing current issues and technical innovations, speakers will give behind-the-scenes insights into their research and development activities and selected competitions. Talks will cover everything from start-up financing to digital fabrication and education. Messe Erfurt is also once again looking for the most innovative company founders for its Start-Up Award and the best design ideas for its 3D Pioneers Challenge.

More than 200 exhibitors will be presenting the latest developments, products and services in additive manufacturing at the trade fair, which is sold out.

In 2017, 4,800 (2016: 4,500) trade visitors and conference participants, and 207 exhibitors (2016: 176) from 13 countries attended Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt.


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You can find impressions of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D 2017 here.