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Germany trip, the final episode (BMW factory)

Here is the info from the BMW Tour on Thurs. afternoon.

BMW AG  - Factory Tour 
BMW 3 Series, 4 door and 2 door compact

Petuelring 130
80788 Munich
Tel: 089 382-23639

BMW factory tour information 
April - Mid-October: Every Day
Mid-October - April: Monday, Thursday, Friday
Starting time: 1:15 pm   2 1/2 hours long
Tour info.U.S.A
Goetz Gerlach
Fax  201-307-4003

1993 Production was 533,000
950 3 Series cars produced each day
900 engines built each day , 6 cylinder, 8 cylinder, 12 cylinder , M3 and 
M5 engines are produced in Munich. 
The 4 cylinders and diesel engines (1700 each day) are produced in Styria, 

The tour began in the metal or body part fabrication area. The steel 
arrives in large rolls where it is then cut into individual sheets. Four 
to seven pressing operations (with unique dies) are required to make each 
body part. Each die that is inserted into the hydraulic press weighs 25 
tons and is the size of a king-size bed (3 ft thick) and costs $325,000 
each. There is a large overhead crane that is used to transport the dies 
into the presses. The Munich factory uses over 500 dies to make all the 
required body parts. The hydraulic presses used to stamp out the body 
parts are two stories tall and 20 ft wide and weigh 300 tons. There are 6 
or 7 presses lined up in a row with automated feaders that pick up the 
sheet steel and transfer it to the next pressing operation. Workers are 
used to remove and stack the finished parts. The hydraulic presses use 600 
- 2000 tons of pressure to stamp out the body parts. They process over 100 
tons of steel per day. The next part of the tour included a video showing 
the paint process and the body welding process. BMW affixes a microwave 
transponder to each body that transmits data on each cars particular needs 
and changes. It is also used to track material flow through the entire 
system. It takes 7 1/2 hours to weld the entire body. The welding process 
is 95% automated using 275 Kuka robots. The paint process is  completely 
automated with the exception of the 2nd  primer coat. It takes 10 hours to 
paint the entire car. There are 2 shifts at the plant. They have teams of 
4 persons who do the assembly process. It takes 1min and 20 seconds to 
install the windshield. The windshield has the rubber adhesive installed 
on it, then it is delivered  to the workers who lift it and put it in 
place. Each assembly station uses around a 1 min and 30 second cycle time. 
They currently have use over 500 suppliers. There are over 20 thousand 
parts per car. 15% of the cars weight is from plastic parts. It takes 
around 2 hours to build the engines. Each engine is tested for 10 minutes. 
The engine and transmission are installed as a unit in 1 minute and 25 
seconds. They have one person in a room doing the PROM burn for each cars 
unique engine, transmission and Brake system controller. The cars utilize 
a plastic intake manifold and a plastic gas tank located in front of the 
rear axle for safety. The total assembly time for a BMW is around 30 
hours. This compares with 18-20 Hrs. for U.S. and Japanese cars. After 
being assembled the car is driven off the line and into a room where it is 
run on a dyno to check engine, transmission and braking functions. The 
operator using a computer monitor to prompt him through the individual 
tests. The BMW tour was the longest (2 1/2 hrs) and the most complete. The 
only thing missing was the engine assembly. The tour guide mentioned that 
special tours (ie. engine assembly) are available upon request.

I had planned on staying in Munich over the weekend and checking out some 
of the Museums, but I had to drive back down to Graz, Austria on Friday 
(damn work!) I ended up driving a total of 1300 miles over seven days and 
spent $225 on gas! The car got between 25 and 30 MPG. The gas averaged 
around $4.5 U.S dollars per gallon. They do have 98 RON octane fuel 
though. I stopped over in London for one day and saw a couple of Ur 
Quattros with right-hand drive while wandering around Westminster Abby.
The trip was a little hectic but very fun. That's all folks!.
Scott M.