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Aerodynamic & Light

Welser profiles installed in BMW Group vehicles

BMW Success Story

“Taking a fresh look at an existing component was worth it. Together with the experienced experts at BMW, we at the Welser Competence Center were able to fully exploit the potential of roll-forming technology to develop a successful new product. I’m especially pleased that we were able to strengthen our long-standing partnership.”

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernd Koeberl
Head of Competence Center | Welser Profile

Auf einen Blick

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CLIENT

BMW Group

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DEVELOPMENT

Identification of possible roll-formed components in the underbody. Development of design and production concepts in cooperation with BMW Group departments.

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REQUIREMENTS

Cost and performance optimization of the underbody in the BMW 1 Series through the innovative use of roll-forming technology.

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RESULT

A roll-formed frontal connecting support tunnel which had significantly more advantages than the existing component it replaced: the new roll profile is lighter, cheaper and better in terms of driving dynamics than the previous stamped part.

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SPECIFICATIONS

Open, roll-formed profile with pre- and post-punching as well as KTL coating in large quantities.

Challenge

Since the automotive business has traditionally used classic stamping technology, roll forming is a comparatively unknown technology for many of our customers. Looking to enhance the production of the vehicle underbody, the BMW Group recognized the potential of this technology and trusted our experts to help them come up with solutions. A joint development project was set up with the aim of optimizing costs and performance by looking at the longitudinally oriented components of the underbody. The underbody turned out to be an ideal place to utilize the roll-forming process, with the possibility of designing the connection carrier in a longitudinally oriented manner with a constant cross-sectional geometry over the entire length. So far, a closed aluminum extrusion and a deep-drawn steel pressing have been used.

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Solution

In close cooperation with the BMW Group, the roll-formed connection carrier was developed within a few months, the performance in the entire vehicle was simulated, then further optimized and confirmed with prototypes. Since the start of production in mid-2020, the component has been produced continuously in large numbers and delivered to BMW Group plants.

Essential improvements were achieved with the roll-formed component: higher performance, attractive cost savings for material and production as well as better driving and aerodynamics. Technical challenges could be solved thanks to the combined use of traditional stamping and forming technology alongside roll forming in conjunction with a mature supply chain.

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Advantages of the new roll-formed component

  • 40% lighter and significantly cheaper than the previous steel component
  • almost the same weight and drastically cheaper than the extruded aluminum component
  • improved driving dynamics compared to the stamped part
  • maintained optimal aerodynamics
  • improved value for money
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Conclusion

The mutually beneficial, trusting cooperation with BMW proves that joint product development often leads to the best results. Getting involved with a new technology and giving the potential of roll forming a chance at an early stage of development shows the openness and forward thinking of the BMW Group. In a productive exchange between experts, an optimal solution to the problem was found and something that was already good was able to be further improved.

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