BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) last week opened the newly-built north section of its automotive plant in Dadong/Shenyang, China. The first long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan rolled off the production line during the opening ceremony. The northern extension comprises all production areas of a full plant and boasts a highly-advanced production system with the latest sustainability standards.
With its two production locations in Dadong and Tiexi, BBA will have a total annual capacity of up to 450,000 units.
“The Dadong plant demonstrates the success of our joint venture and the BMW 5 Series in China. The extension of the northern section underlines our clear commitment to the Chinese market. BBA has invested a total of one billion euros in the expansion of its Dadong production location over the past three years. The locally-produced BMW 5 Series has been an unmitigated success: It was the top-selling vehicle in the premium segment in China in 2016 and we expect it to remain the leader in its segment,” remarked Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Finance, at the opening ceremony in China.
“Our production in China is well prepared for further market growth. The new north section is the result of the latest technologies and comprehensive knowledge of the BMW production system,” added Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production. “We will continue to invest in our highly innovative production sites in China. Our next project is already underway: the remodelling of the southern section of Plant Dadong. Once finished, it will give us even greater flexibility and more potential for growth.”
Highly-advanced technology, new sustainability standards
The large-scale expansion of BBA Plant Dadong involves all key technologies – including press plant, body shop, paint shop and assembly – and utilizes highly-advanced equipment and the latest in process digitalization. Using 3D computer simulation, for example, the direct-drive servo press installed in the press plant can process aluminum to an extremely high quality standard. Optical laser scanners then measure the body and verify quality in a matter of seconds.
Another example of Industry 4.0 applications can be found in the networked production system: using the vehicle identification number, the individual components, operations and machines of every BMW 5 Series built in Dadong can be traced. This internet-of-things architecture, combined with automated data analysis, results in greater transparency and higher quality overall. New machines, processes and products can also be integrated faster into ongoing production.
To reduce the workload for production employees, BBA is using innovative exoskeletons worn directly on the body. Like a second skeleton, this structure provides external support for the body and reduces the effort required for physically demanding tasks. Mobile smart devices such as tablets provide employees with precisely the information they need.
A holistic approach, innovative technologies and highly-advanced processes have enabled especially sustainable and environmentally-friendly production in the new section of the plant. Most notably, the paint shop uses 60 percent less energy and water than it did 10 years ago. Wastewater has also been reduced by 50 percent and volatile organic compounds by no less than 80 percent. The direct-drive servo press also helps the plant meet its sustainability targets. It uses 44 percent less energy than a hydraulic press, with a noise reduction of 12 decibels.
Overall, the new northern section will use 30 percent less energy compared with the production of the previous BMW 5 Series.
BBA President Dr. Johann Wieland emphasized, “BMW Brilliance is recognized as one of the most visionary and successful premium auto makers in China. We are a leading employer, a major contributor to the local economy and a reliable corporate partner.”
In the first four months of 2017, China remained the largest single market for the BMW Group, with a total of 191,697 vehicles sold (+18.2 percent).