Welser profiles installed in BMW Group vehicles
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernd Koeberl
Head of Competence Center | Welser Profile
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.
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.
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.