May 19, 2017
Beijing/Shenyang. BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) today opens its New Plant Dadong (Extension), which marks a new milestone in the local development of the BMW Group in China. The fully-fledged new plant utilizes highly-advanced equipment and innovatively applies big data, digital simulation and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, making it a forerunner for the application of Industry 4.0 / Made in China 2025 technologies.
New Plant Dadong is home to the all-new BMW 5 Series Li. The new car, which rolled off the production line during the ceremony and will enter the market soon, is expected to set new high standards for innovation, quality and dynamic performance in its segment. Investment into the new plant is around 7.6 billion yuan. With two production locations in Dadong and Tiexi, BBA is increasing its production capacity in Shenyang up to 450,000 units per year, and is able to adjust this in accordance with market demand.
“The Dadong plant symbolizes 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 7.6 billion yuan 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 local production is well prepared for further market growth. The new plant is the result of the comprehensive knowledge and latest technologies 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 high-tech production sites in China. The new plant will give us even greater flexibility and more potential for growth.”
Mr. Xiaoan Wu, Chairman of the Board of Management of BBA, said: “The new plant features the world's latest production technologies and is a showcase for Industry 4.0. It marks a major upgrade of the Chinese automotive manufacturing industry. Both shareholders will continue to proactively collaborate and capitalize on our investment to ensure our ongoing success.”
The opening ceremony was also attended by Yumin Qi, Chairman of the Brilliance Group, Olaf Kastner, President & CEO, BMW Group Region China, Dr. Johann Wieland, President & CEO of BBA, and local government officials.
Application of Industry 4.0 technologies drive greater efficiency and quality
Industry 4.0 technologies are embedded throughout production in New Plant Dadong. With its state-of-the-art equipment and highly digitalized production processes, the new plant is a model for innovative and sustainable production. Thanks to 3D computer simulation (“Digital Twin” technology), a complete digital version of the production system is available for testing and adjusting the manufacturing process. This results in more efficient production preparation and enhanced precision. For instance, the utilization of this technology in the press shop ensures aluminum – which is three times more difficult to press than steel – is pressed to a very high level and at a precision of 0.02mm. It also optimizes production efficiency and quality in the state-of-the-art body shop, where the automation rate is up to 95%.
Big Data is a noteworthy feature of the production process at New Plant Dadong. Every single BMW 5 Series Li is linked by its vehicle identification number to the individual components and operations and machines involved in its production. This Internet of Things architecture, combined with automated data analysis, improves quality management and brings “Zero Defect” production a step closer to reality.
Every point on the body of the all-new 5 Series Li can be analyzed using advanced technologies. Optical laser scanners measure the body at 20,000 points per second to verify that parts of the body are of the very highest quality. Machine-learning and Big Data systems are also applied in processes in the paint shop and assembly. For example, each and every screw tightening operation in assembly is traced and monitored so that any potential faults can be identified before they happen.
3D printing, smart devices and innovative exoskeletons are also used in the new plant. 3D printing is used to produce thumb protection gloves, making for a safer workplace, and in the development of small-volume use and tailor-made tools. Smart mobile and tablet devices provide first-line employees with precise information on the production line which enable better communication and quick decision making.
Highly advanced equipment and processes make for a better and more sustainable production
New Plant Dadong has a complete set of production technologies, all of which utilize advanced equipment and digitalized process management systems to produce the highly sophisticated BMW 5 Series Li. Moreover, New Plant Dadong reduces overall energy consumption by 30%.
The 10,300-ton 6-stage servo pressing line is able to efficiently press aluminum and steel while consuming less energy and at a lower noise level. It uses 44% less energy than a hydraulic press and reduces noise by 12 decibels. The highly integrated body shop features 856 robots at an automation rate of 95%. 18 different types of connection technologies are employed including laser welding, while the use of ball welding is unique within the global automotive industry. Flow Drill Screw welding is used on a BMW product in China for the first time. The use of leading-edge machinery and controls results in energy savings of 37%.
The paint shop at New Plant Dadong is one of the most advanced in the world. The Integrated Paint Process (IPP) precisely controls the oven temperature to ensure that the mixed material body of the 5 Series Li can be immaculately painted. RoDip technology rotates the entire body of every car through the paint to increase quality and reduce consumption of painting chemicals. Overall, the paint shop uses 60% less energy and water than it did ten years ago. Volatile organic compounds emitted are also reduced by 80% compared to ten years before.
Wall insulation, intelligent lighting and the maximization of natural light leads to a saving of 220,000 kw of electricity. The new plant also uses variable generators while the water recycling rate in the rain-test is up to 90%.
BBA strives for localization and greater success
BBA opened Plant Tiexi five years ago and last year unveiled its new powertrain plant, which is the only BMW engine plant with a foundry shop outside of Germany. The establishment of the new plant today underlines BBA’s confidence in and commitment to the Chinese market. Since 2009, total investment into its plants in Shenyang is more than 36 billion yuan.
BBA's Tiexi and Dadong plants set benchmarks in terms of efficiency, quality, flexibility and sustainability. Both are able to produce traditional engine and new energy models on the same production line. The facilities provide a basis for BBA to introduce more local products that are tailored to market demand. Today, five BMW models are locally produced, among which the BMW X1, BMW 1 Series Sedan, BMW 2 Series Tourer and BMW 3 Series are manufactured in Plant Tiexi.
In 2017, BBA will begin assembling high-voltage batteries and open the second phase of its R&D Center. Currently, BBA produces two plug-in-hybrid vehicles and the company is contributing to the development of the NEV industry by creating a complete e-mobility ecosystem, from developing batteries and charging infrastructure through to battery recycling. BBA intends to further enhance its e-mobility leadership by producing more NEVs and helping to strengthen the industry in China.
BBA’s New Plant Dadong is a forerunner for the application of Industry 4.0 and the all-new BMW 5 Series Li is an advanced product built through advanced production. BBA is beginning a new chapter in its localization and intends to lead the transformation of the automotive industry in China. The contribution the company is making is helping to drive forward “Made in China 2025”.