BMW 3D prints its millionth part.

3D printing is rapidly gaining traction in full scale production with news one of the field’s leaders, BMW has printed one million automotive parts.

The German company has been using additive manufacturing for 25 years but prototyping is fast giving way to production.

The company printed 200,000 production parts this year, a 42 per cent increase on 2017 according to a report in

BMW Group’s millionth 3D printed component was a window guide rail for the BMW i8 Roadster allowing side windows to open and close smoothly.

“It took only five days to develop and was quickly integrated into series production.”

BMW Group began using both plastic and metal in 2010 to make a water pump pulleys, then two years later used laser sintering for parts used in the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

With companies moving well beyond prototyping and tooling to series production parts, the manufacturing world appears to be reaching a tipping point in the acceptance of additive manufacturing.

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