Munich, Germany – BMW has announced that, starting in 2010, its plant in Landshut, Germany will have the world’s first foundry with emission-free sand core production. Using a new method with eco-friendly inorganic binders, the plant will reduce its emissions of combustion residues by 98 per cent, and will completely decommission its current waste air treatment systems by 2010.

The foundry currently produces around 45,000 tonnes of aluminum and magnesium castings each year, including cylinder heads and crankcases, structural components, chassis parts, and tailgate frames.

Approximately half of the castings produced are gravity die-cast using sand cores. The foundry uses some 120 tonnes of sand daily, with 90 per cent of it recycled. Following an initial pilot operation phase, the company 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 are based on water-soluble alkali silicates, resulting in significantly reduced resource consumption.

“Inorganic sand core production positions us at the forefront of the foundry industry,” said Dr. Wolfgang Blümlhuber, head of the foundry. “We see inorganic sand core production as key to competitive operation, particularly in highly industrialized countries with stringent environmental regulations, where manufacturing costs are correspondingly high.”

The company said that the strength of the components is enhanced by the improved, faster solidification of the liquid aluminum during the casting process, with the potential to produce energy-saving, fuel-efficient engines capable of higher peak cylinder pressures and increased power density. The new process also eliminates employees having to blast the casting tools with dry ice after every use to remove combustion residues.

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