During tough economical times, it has been historically proven that innovative companies managed to get the edge in their industry. A recent article published by Automotive News talks about BMW’s plans to produce lighter, stronger parts. To accomplish this, BMW is spending $69.7 million on an innovative press hardening facility at its Dingolfing plant.
A second press hardening facility will be at the Leipzig plant where the new 1 Series family will be built and this new lighter parts techniques will be used on future BMW models as well.
We’ve learned in the past that the new 2011 BMW 5 Series will take advantage of these new lighter materials which will allow BMW to keep the weight fairly low on this new model, despite the all-steel chassis.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
BMW will make high strength body parts such as chassis beams and side skirts with the new press hardening process.
It will be the first use of press hardening technology in the auto industry anywhere in the world, BMW said. It makes it possible to construct high-strength components at lower weights.
The new process cuts vehicle weight by almost 51 pounds. This in turn shrinks fuel consumption by up to 0.1 liter per 100 kilometers driven, or just under half a cup of gasoline for every 62 miles.
The new facility thus contributes to BMW’s “efficient dynamics” program, an effort to improve vehicle performance along a range of fronts.
The 5 Series Gran Turismo will be the first model using these components. Over the next three years, eight more new BMW models will incorporate components from the facility.
The Dingolfing press facility will supply BMW’s factory network worldwide.