Driving 3D Printing into Future Factories: BMW Group Personal Mover Concept

As a result of improving technology, our world and our everyday lives are going through drastic changes, particularly in regard to mobility. We can drive, we can fly, we can cruise and we can innovate – we’re moving in completely different ways according to our shifting needs.

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To make the working lives of their employees easier and more efficient, renowned global automaker BMW Group has created the Personal Mover Concept. BMW Group Research and Innovation Center in Munich designed this impressive electric one-person means of transport. The idea behind such a unique project was simple:

Employees at BMW Group plants and logistics centers sometimes cover up to 12 kilometers per day on foot – and having to carry small parts and work materials often makes it even harder. Sites such as the BMW Group Research and Innovation Center in Munich or the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing and Spartanburg are sprawling campuses, where many employees have to cover huge distances to do their jobs. (source)

The thought was, why not sort a solution for that? Or, to take one step further, why not use additive manufacturing technology to print a solution?The Personal Mover Concept is 60 cm wide and 80 cm long, so even with one person on board, there is still a space for long or heavy objects. It can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h and turn on the spot to the left or right up to 90°. The handlebar contains the entire electrical system, the battery and the drive wheel. Having in mind the safety of users and pedestrians, the Personal Mover Concept includes a bell, brake and a dead man’s control. One of the most innovative facts about this object is that the handlebar stand has been 3D-printed on the BigRep ONE. As Richard Kamissek, Head of the Operations Central Aftersales Logistics Network department said, “It had to be flexible, easy to maneuver, zippy, electric, extremely agile and tilt-proof – and, at the same time, suitable for carrying objects. The Personal Mover Concept can do all of this – and is also fun to drive. We hope to start using it as soon as possible!”

BMW Plant Commuter

Being a part of this innovative idea is not only making us proud, but also giving us food for thought. If, thanks to 3D printing technology, mobility advancements are helping us improve the automotive, aerospace and electric vehicle industries, are there any limits for how far transport can go? Large-scale 3D printing can truly change the way companies innovate. We see everything from prototyping to the whole production process, where 3D-printed objects are present in everyday life and being used all over the world. Starting with factories, we expect to see these kinds of mobility tools in use at airports, shopping malls or warehouses.

3D printing can improve our environment in faster, more cost-efficient and creative ways. That makes it the ideal technology for supporting the mobility innovations and creates a range of the excellent opportunities for various industries. We were thrilled to learn of this smart project, and we cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring for the 3D printing industry, BMW Group and for the entire network of BigRep customers and partners.

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