At the BMW plant in Landshut, approximately 500,000 CFRP components are produced each year, such as the roof for the current BMW M3 sedan, using so-called preforms in the resin transfer moulding (RTM) process.
With increasing component size, larger and thus heavier handling devices and robots are required. Due to the high weight and the associated mass inertia, the maximum movement speeds are limited. As a result, three robots are needed to produce the roof for the current BMW M3 sedan.
In collaboration with colleagues from MP-4 and TI-6, the current gripper concept was analysed and topologically optimised - the birth of the bionic robot gripper. The prototype was cast with printed sand cores in one piece at the Lightweight Construction and Innovation Centre (LiTZ) in Landshut and successfully tested. Due to the weight saving, the complete manufacturing process of the carbon roof can now be realised with only one robot.
This team effort not only increases profitability in CFRP production, but also makes a significant contribution to sustainability throughout the BMW Group, as heavy-duty robots, for example, can be replaced by smaller and thus cheaper designs. In addition, higher web speeds and thus shorter cycle times are possible.
Source: BMW Landshut plant