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Z4 - E89 (2008 - ...) - Flexible Production

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Z4 - E89 (2008 - ...)
Design and Technology
Design: Modern, Emotional, Authentic
The Retractable Hardtop
Drivetrain: Straight-Six in the Roadster
Body and Safety
Equipment: Driving Pleasure All the Way
Flexible Production
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Production: Flexible Production at BMW Plant Regensburg.
- Quality-conscious and environmentally-friendly production and painting processes.
- Customer-Oriented Sales and Production Process.
- Innovative processes for integrating the roof system.

The new BMW Z4 is built at BMW Plant Regensburg, one of the most modern car production facilities in the world. The car is built together with the BMW 3 Series and the BMW 1 Series in a single-line system, coming off the production line in any random order.
The logistics required for this purpose are masterminded by the most advanced information technology, components and modules being delivered directly to the assembly line just in time and even just in sequence, that is exactly when required and in exactly the right order. Clearly, this makes the entire production process particularly flexible, with full orientation to the customer and his or her personal requirements.
BMW’s Customer-Oriented Sales and Production Process (COSP) is indeed quite unique in the world of car production and has been used by the BMW Group for more than five years, allowing the customer to modify the configuration of his car up to six days prior to the start of assembly, without delaying the date of delivery.
The decision to build the new BMW Z4 at Plant Regensburg and no longer at BMW’s US Plant in Spartanburg, where the former model was produced, allows the BMW Group to pool its competences at the two locations: In future production capacities in Spartanburg will be concentrated fully on production of the BMW X models. This also provides logistic and production-based synergy effects at Plant Regensburg, where, apart from the BMW 3 Series Convertible, another model with a retractable hardtop is now being built – the BMW Z4 Roadster.
To ensure an optimum standard of rustproofing, the bodyshell of the new BMW Z4 is made partly of hot-galvanised steel plate also combining particular strength and stiffness with exemplary crash safety. The front side panels are made of aluminium, thus helping to ensure optimum axle load distribution. More than 95 per cent of all job processes in body assembly, finally, are fully automated.


Tailor-made roof system.
The shells for the roof system are put together individually for each customer in a separate assembly hall after being painted in body colour. The next step is to check the complex lightweight roof system made of aluminium shells in the same hall in a very demanding and precise quality test ensuring absolute precision in every respect.
Following production, every BMW Z4 goes through an elaborate inspection process where – as is appropriate for a roadster – the main objective is to check the two-piece hardtop for any possible leaks. This inspection includes a ten-minute shower test and a water surge test with water flowing up to the car from the sides.
The hardtop is assembled in shared processes carried out on the flexible production line at BMW Plant Regensburg. Newly developed, manually guided robots precisely positioning the roof system on the body of the car are applied for this purpose for the first time.

Environmentally-friendly painting process.
The Paintshop at BMW Plant Regensburg is one of the most modern facilities of its kind worldwide. On the fully automatic paint line, the bodies of the car go through a multi-stage process, a layer of zinc phosphate ensuring a lasting anti-corrosion effect.
This is also where the car goes into a cathodic dip bath, the first, ultra-thin layer of paint being applied on the car by means of electrostatic charging. The filler then provides the primary layer for the first coat of colour paint, the topcoat applied by means of high-speed rotation bells revolving up to 40,000 times a minute.
Efficient and environmentally-friendly use of material is ensured by electrostatic charging, the electrostatically charged paint particles being drawn towards the grounded body of the car in exactly the right quantity.
The final step in the painting process is the application of the powder clear paint. This fourth layer serves to protect the surface of the car and gives the colour greater depth and brilliance.
Using powder clear paint, BMW has given a particularly environmentally-friendly technology the breakthrough in car production, not using any solvent nor producing any effluent. Any excess powder not required is recycled into the production process, increasing the actual use of powder to 97 per cent.

Facts and figures on BMW Plant Regensburg.
BMW Plant Regensburg has been building cars for more than 20 years. The Plant employs more than 10,000 BMW associates, among them some 300 apprentices, in the Press Shop, Bodyshop, Paintshop, Assembly and Logistics.
Apart from the new BMW Z4, BMW Plant Regensburg also builds the BMW 3 Series Saloon, Coupé and Convertible, the BMW M3, as well as the BMW 1 Series.
The Plant also builds special versions of these models for the police, the fire brigade and ambulance services, together with the appropriate equipment. Yet a further function of Plant Regensburg is to supply the Plants in Munich and Leipzig with doors and lids for the BMW 3 Series.
In 2007 alone, some 300,000 cars came off the production line in Regensburg, where the plant premises cover an area of 1.4 million square metres or 3,458 acres.
The production machines at BMW Plant Regensburg are used between 70 and 140 hours a week, with machine operating times and individual working hours separated from one another and with the Plant applying variable working time concepts. This allows employees to flexibly determine their personal weekly working hours according to their individual requirements.
To offer the employees optimum working conditions, the assembly lines ensure a high standard of ergonomics using the most advanced technical features: Conveyer lines moving along in the assembly process and adjustable for both height and angle enable workers to conduct nearly all processes in a pleasant upright position. The wide range of job processes in the ­increasingly complex world of automobile production furthermore offers attractive challenges for the Plant’s IT Division and for efficient management of the supply chain.


Last Updated on Monday, 12 April 2010 14:38  

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