Spotting Press Ensuring tooling is ready before the factory even warms up
Toolmakers at the BMW factory in Landshut, Germany, employ a Millutensil spotting press to check their moulds before they crank up the production line.
With the introduction of new models on the market, BMW will leave its mark on more than just drive trains. The premium brand is also tilling new ground with regard to car structures and bodies. The overall construction of some models is changing, with technologies like carbon-fibre reinforced plastic passenger compartments, injection-moulded body parts and parts manufactured with rapid transfer moulding (RTM) technology reportedly being used for the first time in series-production vehicles.
Testing prior to production keeps the factory humming
This creates new challenges for toolmaking. The Landshut plant makes forming tools and injection moulds as well as moulds for the resin transfer moulding process. In order to keep idle time during production as short as possible, and to ensure only well-engineered and fully functioning moulds are used on presses and injection moulding machines, each mould goes through an extensive inspection procedure, during which even final optimisation is carried out. This applies both to new moulds manufactured in-house and to purchased ones, as well as to repaired moulds. This is said to allow the shop to guarantee a very high availability for its moulds.
The Landshut factory had been relying on a Millutensil press for testing, a Mil 306 “Blue Line” press, one of the biggest models of the Italian manufacturer's catalogue, but its specs fell short. New moulds in the four-metre class, with weights generally between 40 and 100 tons, were too big for the press. Plus, the carmaker hoped to use the spotting press beyond its classic applications – i.e., as a master press and a calibration device, too