The BMW Group is to invest more than €300 million in its Leipzig plant. Comprehensive construction work to extend and update the body and paint shops, assembly and logistics is already under way.
The main focus of activities at the plant is to increase annual production capacity by approx. 100,000 units, from the current 250,000 to about 350,000 p.a. in 2020. Production of BMW i models will rise much earlier, in autumn of this year, from 130 to 200 units a day to meet the welcome growth in demand.
“We have every faith in the skills and productivity of employees at our Leipzig plant,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Board Member for Production. “So it’s only logical that, with the measures we are introducing now, we should make the plant even more flexible and, above all, more efficient to keep it competitive in the future.”
The rise in annual output of 100,000 units up to 2020 will be enabled by comprehensive extensions and conversions in all the core technologies. The latest system technologies will be introduced, processes and structures reviewed and refined, and existing facilities extended.
The main focus of the developments at Plant Leipzig is the paint shop. This will be extended by 300 m to the north and south, with new buildings covering an area of 11,950 m2. The key features will be a second fully automated top-coat paint line in the south extension, and a new pre-treatment system and cathodic dip in the north. Together, they will increase paint shop capacity by more than 40 percent.
The introduction of cutting-edge IPP (integrated paint process; filler-free) technology will reduce energy consumption per unit by 15 percent, water consumption by about 30 percent, and wastewater production by roughly 45 percent. In the medium-term these resource-friendly technologies will also be integrated into the existing paint shop line.
Structures and process systems in the bodyshop will also see modifications, with almost 500 additional cutting-edge industry robots to be fitted over the next few years. Further adjustments will be made to conveyor systems, laying the foundation for production of future models. In addition, Plant Leipzig will gain importance as an in-house supplier of doors and lids within the BMW Group production network.
Assembly is also being upgraded, with a completely new panorama roof fitting system already added in March of this year. The 40-tonne piece of high-tech equipment is faster, more flexible and can fit considerable more variants than its predecessor.
In addition, preparations are under way for the targeted use of human-robot collaboration systems. These require no protective barriers and therefore allow robots to support associates even more closely as they work. One such system is already in operation, bonding windscreens into the BMW i3.
Assembly is also to be extended, with some 3,500 m2being added to its existing footprint to create space for the additional workstations required for future models.
Perfect logistics are the backbone of automotive production. With several thousand components needed to make personal mobility on four wheels a reality, the €300 million investment in Leipzig will also focus on adjustments and optimisations to material flow systems.
Activities will centre on a value-stream focus – on short, efficient, well thought-out and therefore waste-free part flows and workflows throughout the plant.
As elsewhere, digital technologies are increasingly taking hold in everyday logistics. Some solutions are still being tested, such as logistics systems for autonomous container feeds, or the use of hydrogen-powered industrial trucks, which is currently being tested in a further pilot project with partners. The hydrogen vehicles will allow zero-emissions logistics on the plant premises and have their own refuelling facilities within the production halls.