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Sustainability Light Metal Foundry at the BMW Group Plant in Landshut Relies on Innovative Multi-Plate Mold Technology for Chassis Casting Parts

From Nicole Kareta

The BMW Group's light metal foundry at the Landshut component plant in Lower Bavaria is now using an innovative multi-plate mold technology for die casting. Central advantage over conventional mold technology: Component weights and dimensions can be reduced through function-optimized component design and an idealized layout of the required sprue positions and flow paths.

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Innovative multi-plate technology for die casting.
Innovative multi-plate technology for die casting.
(Source: BMW Group)

With the development of new gating and demolding systems using direct gating in multi-plate mold technology, component designs optimized for function rather than flow path can thus be realized in the die casting process. In addition, the component weight can be reduced by up to 20 percent while still fulfilling the same function," explains Klaus Sammer, head of toolmaking, maintenance, and advanced development at the light metal foundry. Furthermore, CO2 emissions are sustainably optimized in the production and use phase of the body components. „Process improvement makes product designs with optimal material use and a weight-neutral switch to alloys with lower CO2 emissions possible. This in turn contributes to achieving our sustainability goals," says Sammer. This will enable the Landshut foundry specialists to use existing equipment for casting structural components in the future. The new process also increases cost-effectiveness and reduces energy consumption compared with large and more energy-intensive die casting systems.

The use of innovative multi-plate technology developed at the BMW Group plant in Landshut enables multiple feed channels to be realized that open into the mold cavity, as well as improved, highly effective sprue separation and demolding. "The variances in component design that can be realized in the die casting process enable the use of casting materials that meet requirements while taking into account a more efficient and sustainable circular economy," Sammer sums up.

The BMW Group's only Production Facility for Light Metal Castings in Europe

The light metal foundry at the BMW Group site in Landshut is the largest production area of the Lower Bavarian component plant - and the BMW Group's only production facility for light metal castings in Europe. In 2021, employees at the light metal foundry of the BMW Group plant in Landshut produced 3.1 million cast components with a total weight of almost 67,000 tons. The scope of production includes engine components such as cylinder heads and crankcases, components for electric drives or large-area structural components for the vehicle body.

The light metal foundry is one of the most modern foundries in the world. The innovative manufacturing processes are sustainable and have received several awards. Virtually no emissions are released during casting. Five different casting processes are used for series production of the cast components. Depending on the respective component concept, the technological requirements and the production volume, the most suitable casting process is selected in each case.

At the end of 2019, the light metal foundry at the BMW Group plant in Landshut was certified for its sustainable use of aluminum. It meets the standards of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), an international organization supported by environmental and industry associations, aluminum producers and processing companies. Since the beginning of last year, the light metal foundry has also been purchasing aluminum for the production of electricity from solar energy. This is an important milestone on the way to the company's goal of reducing CO2 emissions in the supplier network by 20% by 2030. Since the production of aluminum is very energy-intensive, the use of green power - such as solar power - has significant potential in reducing CO2 emissions. With 43,000 metric tons worth a three-digit million-euro amount, the purchase of solar aluminum covers almost half of the annual requirements of the light metal foundry at the Landshut plant.

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