QUBEs factory finder map tool shows BMWs Leipzig facility in the eastern part of Germany (former GDR)

QUBE's 'factory finder' map tool shows BMW's Leipzig facility in the eastern part of Germany (former GDR)

BMW says it is to invest more than EUR300m in its Leipzig plant to extend and update the body and paint shops, assembly and logistics. It also says comprehensive work is under way, laying the foundation for continued growth and the production of future models in Leipzig.

BMW says the work will at the plant will increase annual production capacity by approx. 100,000 units, from the current 250,000 to about 350,000 per annum by 2020. Production of BMW i models will rise much earlier, in autumn of this year, from 130 to 200 units a day to meet higher 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."

"What's most important to me, as Plant Director, is our company's clear show of trust in our employees and our region," said Hans-Peter Kemser. BMW Group Plant Leipzig first launched series production in March 2005, with 2,000 employees. Another 3,300 jobs have since been created, taking the total headcount to over 5,300 today. Since series production was first launched, in March 2005, more than 2.3m vehicles have rolled off the production lines in Leipzig, and investments have totalled approximately EUR3bn.

Flexibility in manufacturing and powertrain, more EVs

BMW says it is currently preparing all of its plants to integrate fully electric vehicles into their existing structures so that they can produce combustion-powered, hybrid and fully electric vehicles simultaneously.

BMW Group Plant Leipzig has seen the launch of BMW i3 production in 2013, followed by the BMW i8 in 2014 and the BMW i8 Roadster in March 2018. BMW says Leipzig's years of expertise in the field of electric vehicle production is now being rolled out across the BMW Group's global production system.

"We are taking the invaluable knowledge from Plant Leipzig to facilities across our production network. Current production of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, in independent structures, will continue unaffected. Over the longer term, Leipzig will gradually develop further, capitalising on the opportunities of digitalisation and becoming more flexible to enable vehicles with any type of powertrain to be produced together on a single assembly line," Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser said.

Paint shop – larger, more efficient, even more sparing with resources

The main focus of the developments at Plant Leipzig is the paint shop. This will be extended by 300m 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%.

The introduction of IPP (integrated paint process; filler-free) technology will reduce energy consumption per unit by 15%, water consumption by about 30%, and wastewater production by roughly 45%. BMW says that in the medium-term these resource-friendly technologies will also be integrated into the existing paint shop line.

Body shop – new industry robots

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 – intelligent machine assistance through digitalisation

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,  BMW says, 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 m2 being added to its existing footprint to create space for the additional workstations required for future models.

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