Light metal foundry of the BMW Group

Virtual test run with fischertechnik model optimizes real commissioning

In the light metal foundry of the BMW Group's Landshut plant, the start-up of the production facilities is to be made safer and more efficient with the help of two measures: Standardization and virtual commissioning. The interaction of these two projects is intended to shorten the project planning and commissioning phase and increase the start-up quality of the plants. 

In the area of standardization, the aim is to create plant technology across the board according to the same basic conditions - in terms of hardware and software - every time. The software should always contain the same basic functions and not differ in structure and design from plant to plant. Additional required individual applications are made available via a defined module catalog, from which the external system programmer then uses the software. The same principle applies to the visualization and operating logic of the production plant. During virtual commissioning (VIBN), the plant programming is tested virtually before realization, among other things by means of a virtual image. In this way, possible errors in the program and sequence can be detected and corrected before the real commissioning. 

To make the complex processes transparent, the BMW Group specialists use a fischertechnik factory model. It consists of a production plant in miniature format with various production steps which are connected to each other via a conveyor belt and a vacuum suction pad. The model contains a sorting line, milling cell, the high-bay warehouse and the simulated heat treatment - all work steps which also occur in the light metal foundry. Connected to a programmable logic controller (PLC), the miniature factory carries out the production steps specified by the software. Even during the development phase of standard modules for other applications, the fischertechnik model is used for validation and testing as well as for realistically simulating production processes.

Company profile

The light metal foundry of the BMW Group was moved from Munich to the Landshut plant at the end of the 1980s. More than five million aluminum and magnesium cast components with a total weight of around 86,000 tons are produced here every year. The scope of production includes engine components such as cylinder heads or crankcases, but also structural components for the vehicle body such as side members, tailgate frames or cast nodes. The light metal foundry is part of the Lightweight Design Center built at the Landshut plant in 2015.