BMW is getting greener in 2010 with its Landshut plant. It will boast the world’s first foundry with emission-free sand core production. The light-alloy foundry at the BMW plant is introducing a new sand core production method for gravity die-casting, where conventional organic binders will be replaced by highly eco-friendly inorganic binders, which generate virtually no pollutant emissions. The introduction of this innovative production method will allow the foundry to reduce its emissions of combustion residues by 98%. The plant will completely decommission its current waste air treatment systems by 2010.
The Landshut foundry’s approximately 1300 employees currently produce around 1.8 million aluminum and magnesium castings a year, with a total weight of 45000 tons. The product range includes engine components such as cylinder heads and crankcases, structural components and chassis parts such as suspension strut supports, tailgate frames, corner castings and casting nodes for the front and rear axle.
Approximately half the castings produced are gravity die-cast using sand cores. The light-alloy foundry uses some 120 tons of sand daily in sand core production. 90% of this volume is recycled. Following an initial pilot operation phase, the BMW Group is now poised to become the world’s first manufacturer to use inorganic sand cores in volume production of all engine core components. The inorganic binders used are based on water-soluble alkali silicates (i.e. a water/silica sand solution), resulting in significantly reduced resource consumption.
The light-alloy foundry first introduced this reduced-emission production process for use in the manufacturing of aluminum crankcases and cylinder heads for six-cylinder diesel engines. Now inorganic sand core production is gradually being extended to the foundry’s entire product range.