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      08-30-2011, 07:34 PM   #1
Dackelone
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Lightbulb 1ADDICTS Members Tour BMW Leipzig Factory. Insight Into Production Process

Leipzig Werk tour in English…


Well… today was the day for our special tour in English! I know I was looking forward to it!! Most of the tours at the factory are done in German. And in groups - of upwards of forty or so people. Today it was just myself and KIYO doing the special tour. We had a great tour guide… he showed us some things off the beaten path… and we got to take a look behind BMW’s most modern flexible factory. The Leipzig Werk really makes Munich’s (3er) factory look really old and dark by comparison. And what is really interesting is that Leipzig has some big plans in store because the factory is so expandable.

Our tour guide explained to us that the factory had four major halls (BMW calls them “fingers”) of production. They needed to add a new hall… so… they added a “thumb”! lol Gotta love the German sense of humor. But really the factory is so flexible for future products.

Our tour guide explained to us that Leipzig will produce the new i8 (Vision Concept) and i3 – the all carbon electric city car. We got to see some samples of the carbon fiber chassis for the new i3/i8 (2014 Start of Production at Leipzig) along with some future factory expansion plans. Seems BMW not only wants to produce an energy efficient car (i3/i8) but they also want the factory to be on the cutting edge for saving energy, recycling and renewable resources. BMW will be installing several wind power generators to supply the factory with over 90% of its needs. They will also be building four major new halls onto the factory grounds. I did not know this but BMW Leipzig is twice as big as the inner city limits of (downtown) Leipzig!

We also saw some samples of carbon fiber roof for the M3/M6. Our guide told us how for every kilo you save in steel(vs CF) it costs you seven times to make that (same)part in carbon fiber(CF). So… you have to use CF where it counts. Like for the roof panel in the M3/M6. I of course asked him why the 1M doesn’t use a CF roof… but he did not know!

First our tour started at the body stamping and welding shop. It was very loud in this hall. It was quite cool to see (literally) the sparks flying as body panels got welded together. Eighty five percent of the body panels are made on the factory floor. BMW then has some 900+ KuKa robots do the hard work by welding the parts together. In some places BMW uses single stage epoxies. But for the most part its old fashioned welding. I noticed that for the e88(Vert) they have humans do the underbody welding since its more critical job. I guess when it comes down to it humans do a much better job at welding than robots! lol

After the bare chassis are completed they move along thru the factory’s lobby and throughout the offices… working its way to the paint shop and then final assembly. Seeing the bare bodies moving thru the factory is no gimmick. It shows all the workers how interconnected everyone’s job really is.

Next we toured the paint shop. This was quite neat, because in most car factories you can not do this. But BMW designed this factory with plant tours in mind… and they have a special sealed hallway for tour guests too see the actual cars being painted right in front of you. BMW can paint one car in one color and the very next car behind it on the production line in a different color!

One interesting note – we were showed a bare chassis with the four stages of painting. Galvanation, primer, base coat, paint (the actual color), clear coat. Hanging on the wall were these sample “disc’s” of every car color used in production at Leipzig. One caught my eye… “Mineral White”. I asked our guide about that color… he said its used on the 1M! But I said… no… you mean Alpine White, don’t you. He said he was pretty sure that Mineral White was being used. So… ???
I also saw “Uni-Schwartz” which was different – mind of like DSB but more black.

Then we saw the body shop’s quality control… end station. This was where all the paint corrections are done. There were only a few guys working in this area. Maybe ten or so. What was interesting was the floors were all wooden parkett and each worker could take as much time as he/or she wanted to make the car’s paint perfect. The workers use these little two inch discs to pneumatically wet sand the paint. I think it was 2,800 grit. Then they use a wool buffing wheel to polish out the body panel.

After the chassis are finished… some go into storage. Because sometimes the factory needs to change stamping jigs and you need some finished bodies to keep the “line” running. I think something like 900 cars can be stored inside of the factory – when changes need to be made to the presses.

Then we walked over to the assembly section of the factory. To the “thumb” area as our guide called it! Here the bodies enter thru a elevator system for the storage area. First thing that happens is all the doors get removed and saved for later. Now the cars get the wiring harness, sound proofing, dashboard and glass installed. One interesting thing was how the entire dashboard is only held in place by TWO bolts – from behind each (side) HVAC vent.

As we waked above the factory floor on this special viewing platform and along side of the “production line”… you could see all the workers doing their various tasks. One interesting this is that no one does the same job day in and out. Everyone is trained in a variety of jobs… and they rotate every 45 minutes – so as not t get bored or burned out.

We saw about nine 1M’s being built in the factory today. Most were in the signature color: VO. And VO really stands out under the production work lights! But I was surprised to see quite a few AW cars. I asked our guide what is the break down in 1M color sales. He said most cars he has seen are in VO, followed by AW and then only a few in BSM. I thought it would have been more equally split.

We also saw quite a few ActiveE electric coupes. (e82). One surprising this was how different the front subframe is from the regular car. The ActiveE had some beefy bracing upfront for crash protection. Also… all the ActiveE’s were in AW… without those gaudy electron logos… but the paint looked kind of “dull”. The production “E” also had the M3 style hood bulge. I asked our guide about the car… he said last week he had touched one… and thought the hood and side body panels were made from some sort of plastic composite. That might explain why the “E’s” hood is so cheap compared to a M3 hood. I guess we won’t know until some brave soul orders one!

Make no mistake though… the bread and butter car for Liepzig is the X1. Some 85% of the plants production is making X1’s. I hardly saw any 135i’s or even 128i’s. And I only saw two US spec 1M’s out of the nine 1M’s I saw today. Most people seem to be ordering 120d’s.

When we made it to the “wedding area” where the finished chassis meets its drive train (engine/trans)… we did see something rather special. The new F20 being “test built”. We saw a dark silver (not grey and not silver – sort of a flat primer silver) 120d four door hatch and then a few cars behind it on the line a 120i in bright red (thought of you(!) Comar1979!! It was definitely one of the first cars Leipzig produced – because all the workers were stopping and taking time to watch the “marriage” take place. It looked to us that the wedding process it a lot easier and less complicated. I also saw new style strut bearings (bigger and larger) and the shocks attached differently than the old car. I must say the new F20 looks really good. But then again I wasn’t looking at the front of it!


And one last thing… when we were in the Werk’s gift shop… they had just gotten a shipment of 1M models in 1:43 scale. I asked the guy there… he said they got the biggest batch of models from BMW. 100 model cars to sell to the employees and visitors. Same price: 59 euros. He said they have only made 1,500 model cars.


Ok, here are some pictures. One thing I should say is how pretty Leipzig is. I been all over Germany… and Leipzig inner city is quite nice. It has a certain Dresden/Paris flare-taste to it. I really liked it – and for sure I will be back soon.


Dackel



und meinen fotos...
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      08-30-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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WOW! Thank you for the pics.
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      08-30-2011, 07:58 PM   #3
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Some things I forgot to mention. Our guide told us that when the F20 (SOP) begins… the e81 (two door hatch) production will be moved to CHINA! And those cars shipped to Europe (ECE) as needed. I was kind of shocked to hear that. The e87 will continued to be built in Regensburg until SOP for the F20

He also said that Leipzig will make both the e82/e88 along side of the F20. But around November the Leipzig Factory will close down for four or five weeks to retooling the new model. BMW needs to change some press machines for the F20 SOP roll out. This seemed kind of confusing to me.


Also... some post cards of Leipzig...
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      08-30-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
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Awesome read and nice pics, Thanks for posting!
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      08-30-2011, 09:42 PM   #5
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Great pics and write-up, David! Too bad SNOOPY11 couldn't make it, I know he was looking forward to it (and had promised me one of the die cast models! )
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      08-30-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Leipzig Werk tour in English…
Cool, thanks for the write-up and the pics.
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      08-30-2011, 10:48 PM   #7
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You didnt ask them why my 50k car has the worst orange peel??

WOW I wish I had been able to make it today, it was such a nice day. Hopefully the weather is just as nice on the 19th. Fingers crossed those models dont sell out. I cant imagine many visitors pass through
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      08-31-2011, 01:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for the pics. Maybe you're interested to see some more pics even from the production. We also made a tour in leipzig (in 2009), and could take some pics from in the plant. You won't understand the german report, but you may like our pics. Have fun with our report in 5 chapters, incl. pics from Leipzig (chapter 5).

Here you are: (Photo-) Report

Greetings,
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      08-31-2011, 01:21 AM   #9
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Awesome!! thanks for sharing!
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      08-31-2011, 03:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriss View Post
Thanks for the pics. Maybe you're interested to see some more pics even from the production. We also made a tour in leipzig (in 2009), and could take some pics from in the plant. You won't understand the german report, but you may like our pics. Have fun with our report in 5 chapters, incl. pics from Leipzig (chapter 5).

Here you are: (Photo-) Report

Greetings,
Chriss

Thanks Chris. I remember seeing your photos before - when I was searching the web for Leipzig factory pictures. Last year when I visited the Leipzig Werk I used "BMW AG Press" photos in my thread. Here are those pictures.


BMW Leipzig factory tour… (Photos inside!)

http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=393421&highlight=BMW+Leipzig+fact ory+tour
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      08-31-2011, 03:43 AM   #11
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very nice! Would love to have the 1M model
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      08-31-2011, 04:12 AM   #12
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Looks like a lot of fun.

And I want one of those model cars, any chance you guys got the actual part number?
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      08-31-2011, 04:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carchrism5 View Post
Looks like a lot of fun.

And I want one of those model cars, any chance you guys got the actual part number?

1M model #80422211917 price is 59 euros.
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      08-31-2011, 04:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
1M model #80422211917 price is 59 euros.
Thanks man, I'm going to try and order one.
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      08-31-2011, 05:37 AM   #15
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Well done Dackelone .... wow, what a collection of miniatures in one place .... looks like a fun tour!
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      08-31-2011, 06:21 AM   #16
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curious to know why that Mini in the parking lot had the "pirate" number plate

hot model?

the old chassis moving to China is interesting. i'm sure theres a market for compact cars there!
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      08-31-2011, 07:39 AM   #17
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David, you are the man!!!!! great write up.
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      08-31-2011, 09:22 AM   #18
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CF

I've wondered why they don't use carbon fibre in the 1M as well, I just thought it had something todo with the car being as small as it is not needing it. Or in fact it may need the steel roof overhead for weight purposes. I'm not sure but that's what I thought
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      08-31-2011, 10:02 AM   #19
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Fantastic pictures and a great blurb about the factory tour! Looks like a lot of fun fellas!
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      08-31-2011, 10:59 AM   #20
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Awesome post man. I went to the plant in South Carolina and toured the new X3 assembly hall and it's very similar to leipzig, fingers and all.
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      08-31-2011, 12:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokerface View Post
curious to know why that Mini in the parking lot had the "pirate" number plate

hot model?

Probably because that guy worked on Project Pyrat. Otherwise known as the 1M.

And to tease you guys even more than yesterday... tonight I am in Munich. Tomorrow I get to see something special from BMW //M.
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      08-31-2011, 12:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Probably because that guy worked on Project Pyrat. Otherwise known as the 1M.

And to tease you guys even more than yesterday... tonight I am in Munich. Tomorrow I get to see something special from BMW //M.
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