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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  May 09, 2001


 


BMW Motorcycles Worldwide More Popular Than Ever - DM 230 Million

  • Investment For Increasing Production
  • Capacity At The Berlin Plant

BMW plant Berlin

Photo: BMW

Munich, Germany - With the laying of the foundation stone for a new motorcycle production building on May 3, 2001, Wolfgang Branoner, Berlin Senator for Business and Technology, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Member of the Board of BMW AG responsible for Production and Marco v. Maltzan, Head of BMW Motorrad and the Berlin plant, are giving a joint signal for the start of the extensive expansion of motorcycle production at the BMW plant in Berlin.

In order to fully satisfy the rising demand for BMW motorbikes worldwide, the BMW Group plans to invest a total of DM 230 million in the extension and modernization of the only production site for BMW motorcycles. Dr. Norbert Reithofer comments: "the increase in motorcycle production is a further milestone in the success story of BMW Motorrad and the Berlin plant. At the same time it is part of a marketing offensive of the BMW Group as a whole, with regard to products, production and sales."

As Reithofer emphasizes, BMW motorcycles embody pure riding pleasure in the most immediate and intensive way and are thus internationally successful ambassadors of the BMW brand. "The year 2000, with 74.614 motorcycle deliveries and 927 million euro turnover, was the best year in the history of the company. The enthusiasm for our products on the international markets, primarily in Europe and the USA, is constantly on the increase. This situation makes BMW motorbikes international ambassadors for Berlin," in the words of the head of production at the press conference following the laying of the foundation stone in the Berlin plant.

With the new top sales figures achieved in 2000, BMW Motorrad reports its eighth record year in a row. The 18,000 customer deliveries for the first three months of this year are also on the high level achieved last year. Marco v. Maltzan comments: " on the basis of the extremely pleasing number of incoming orders we are expecting further increases in the course of the year. The latest developments in demand confirm our decision to step up motorbike production - this will enable us to ride our motorbikes towards growth in the future as well."

The planned investment of DM 230 million has been allotted for the new 16,000 square metre production building for the increase in motorbike assembly capacity together with a new paintwork facility, for the extensive increase in the capacity for manufacturing motorcycle engine components, as well as for the modernisation of the existing assembly facilities in the Berlin plant. As a result of this modernisation, at least 70 new jobs in motorbike production will be created by 2003. The first motorbike will roll off the assembly line in the new production building in the autumn of 2002; the construction work will be finished completely by 2003.

Apart from expanding the production capacity, topics such as motorcycle production flexibility and customer orientation are major points of focus so as to be able to react even faster to market developments and customer needs. The aim is for every motorcycle customer to get his or her individual dream bike quickly without long waiting times.

Since 1967 BMW motorcycles have had the famous Berlin air in their tyres (before 1967 BMW motorcycles were manufactured in Munich). On February 6th, 2001 the one-millionth motorcycle from Berlin rolled off the assembly line. Of the total of 2,400 staff in the Berlin plant, 1,690 work in the motorcycle production area and assemble approximately 400 motorcycles per day. A further 710 staff in the Berlin plant work in the components manufacturing division for brake discs, camshafts and semi-trailing arms for worldwide BMW automobile manufacturing. Already in November 2000 the BMW Group announced investments of DM 100 million in automobile component manufacturing by 2002.

Innovative technologies and flexible production processes in motorcycle Manufacturing The new structure of the expanded motorcycle production facilities offers the best prerequisites for optimized parts logistics, a higher degree of automation associated with highest-level process safety and comprehensive flexibility in motorcycle assembly. The new production building houses the new paint shop, the pre-assembly of motorcycle components, new finishing lines as well as packaging. The existing assembly building still contains the three modernized and considerably lengthened basic assembly lines as well as the expanded roller dynamometer.

In future the painted and pre-assembled components will reach the basic assembly lines, where the motorcycles are assembled ready-to-ride, from the top floor of the new building via a connection bridge. After the basic assembly and the test ride on the roller dynamometer the motorcycles are then transported via a second bridge to the ground floor of the new building; here they are fitted with fairing and mounting parts and then they are packaged for shipment.

The centerpiece of the entire assembly facility is still the unique ceiling conveyor system featuring the highly ergonomic conveyor hook for transporting the motorcycles during the assembly process. The advanced yellow conveyor hooks will be equipped with an intelligent control system in the future which is linked up to the assembly headquarters. In this way the conveyor hook can transport the motorcycle through the assembly process independently. At the individual assembly points, the tools and testing devices automatically receive the required data regarding the hooked-up motorcycle model as well as all the necessary technical specifications. t the same time, the staff on the assembly lines receives all customer-specific motorcycle data from the information system of the conveyor hook, e.g. paintwork color, options and national versions and in this way can mount the necessary components.

The planned new paint shop combines state-of-the-art, environment-friendly paintwork technology and craftsmanship: on the one hand highly flexible paint shop robots will paint the large number of different motorcycle parts to be painted with automated precision. On the other hand skilled craftsman will still attach the trim lines to the fuel tanks and mudguards by hand according to long-standing BMW tradition. The new paint shop excels especially in the technically very demanding process of multi-color painting. By means of unique paint shop and parts control, the production of these complicated and very popular color variants will be expanded even further. From an environmental point of view, the paint shop is absolutely state-of-the-art. For all painted parts, whether plastic or metal, only water-base paints are used.

The mechanical production of engine components for motorcycles in the Berlin plant is about to undergo a technological quantum leap: by the middle of next year, a total of 20 new processing machines featuring the latest manufacturing technology will become operational. Alone 16 new high-speed processing centers of the latest generation for the production of engine casings and cylinder heads will be erected in the plant. They operate using a new type of linear drive, the same magnetic levitation technology that is also used in the "Transrapid" high-velocity trains. The production of motorcycle crankshafts will also be increased. Among other machines, an additional high-precision quick-point grinding machine will process the two- and four-cylinder crankshafts for the Berlin motorcycle production facilities.

(May 3, 2001)

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