BMW Group is pushing 3D-printed components. In the last 10 years, the company has additively manufactured 1 million parts, and the company has no intention of slowing.
This year, the BMW Group Additive Manufacturing Center will print more than 200,000 components, a more than 40 percent increase from 2017.
BMW's one-millionth part was a 3D-printed window guide rail for the BMW i8 Roadster. The part is located in the door and helps the window operate smoothly.
The rail only took five days to develop, and was quickly put into series production on the HP Multi Jet Fusion system, which produces about 100 guide rails every 24 hours.
This is actually the second 3D-printed part in the i8. The first was an aluminum alloy fixture for the soft-top attachment. The metal component actually weighs less and is stiffer than its injection molded plastic counterpart.
BMW is not just hiding these components within the door panels either. With the MINI Yours Customized product, customers can actually design their own 3D-printed dashboard trim and blinker inlays.