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Shape Process Automation has been providing robotic solutions since the mid 1980’s and is a globally recognized integrator of robotic systems. We design & build flexible solutions from material handling and assembly applications to advanced materials cutting with robotic laser, router, knife and waterjet processes. We proudly serve leading industrial manufacturers within the automotive, food & beverage, marine, appliance & consumer goods, aerospace, and other general industries around the globe. We are committed to improving their quality, productivity and competitiveness. With over 6,000 installations, in more than 70 countries, we use our expertise to help you choose the right process for your application. Whether your needs are met with one of our standard solutions or one that is custom-engineered to order, our dedicated team of industry experts bring innovation and state-of-the-art technology to every challenge.

Content Filed Under:

Automotive Automotive

Material Removal / Cutting / Deburring / Grinding / Non-Visible Inspection Material Removal / Cutting / Deburring / Grinding / Non-Visible Inspection

Precision Grinding System at BMW

POSTED 12/03/2009

When world renowned car maker BMW needed a precision grinding system to manufacture the carbon fiber roof on their 2008 M3, they teamed with KMT Robotic Solutions to create an automated manufacturing process that improves quality and safety while increasing productivity. 


BMW decided to give their customers the option of a carbon fiber roof on their 2008 M3 coupe. The new roof would give the car significant weight savings while also giving it a refined look. But in order for their new carbon fiber roof to obtain the aerodynamics and distinct look they desired, BMW needed a precise surface finishing process for the clear coat varnish. They found that manual finishing led to high cycle times, inconsistencies in quality and worker safety concerns. 

KMT Robotic Solutions responded to BMW’s needs by developing a fully enclosed robotic surface finishing system that cuts the manual finishing time while improving quality and increasing worker safety.

The system features a robot guided compliant grinding head that can adapt automatically to the curvature of the roof. To facilitate cost and time effective robot programming, the system features a custom KMT programming tool that can generate complex robot paths from 3D-CAD-data in under two minutes. This allows the robot to move at a constant speed while the grinding head makes all necessary adaptive movements in real-time. These technologies working together allow for constant grinding conditions over the entire surface of the roof, resulting in the constant surface quality required.

KMT set out to create a system that would be fast, precise and safe. With the new grinding system it takes BMW just 50% of the manual cycle time to finish a roof and the level of precision KMT’s system offers simply isn’t possible though manual processing. Also, since the physical challenges inherent in manual grinding are delegated to the robot, employee safety is significantly increased.
BMW’s new KMT designed carbon fiber finishing solution has helped the company create a new high tech roof of outstanding quality. With help from KMT, BMW continues to uphold the exceptional quality that their customers expect.