June 16, 2009
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BMW's $750 million invest into South
Carolina plant almost finished
It has been over one year since BMW
Manufacturing announced it would invest $750 million in its
upstate South Carolina factory to add 1.5 million square feet.
Since that time, design, engineering and construction crews have
been busy constructing the new 1.2 million square foot assembly
facility and have added 80% or 300,000 square feet to the
existing paint shop.
BMW's Spartanburg plant
This investment is the largest ever
announced for the Spartanburg County factory, increasing
investments of the BMW Group in its South Carolina operations to
nearly $4.6 billion (total investment for BMW through 2008 is
The new assembly facility is now fully
enclosed and equipment is being installed. Expansion
construction to the existing Paint Shop is also complete and new
equipment is being tested. A new 1/3 mile conveyor system has
been constructed to connect the expanded paint shop to the new
The new plant design is very similar to
BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany, the newest plant within the BMW
Global Production Network. It has been designed using “fingers”.
The fingers are constructed along the sides of the new plant and
allow for direct deliveries to the exact point of use on the
A logistics warehouse has also been
constructed as part of the new assembly facility. “We are
committed to lean manufacturing and adding a logistics component
attached to the plant was critical to ensure leaner processes
and quicker delivery routes,” said Barbara Bergmeier, Vice
President of Assembly.
In the expanded paint shop area, BMW
has added several new technologies, many borrowed from other BMW
plants, including the Leipzig plant in Germany.
One such technology is a new “RoDip” system.
This new conveyor system represents a breakthrough in paint conveyor
technology for pre-treat and e-coat processes. Previously, BMW
Manufacturing used a “pendulum” system, similar to a ski lift, which
carried the car along a rail and lowered it under the water. The new
“RoDip” system rotates the entire vehicle 360˚ through each process
tank. This reduces the amount of chemicals that are “removed” from tank
and reduces chemical and dirt deposits inside the vehicle.
The plant during its early construction days (1994)
“Many new and innovative technologies have been
implemented into the new Paint Shop area. This is exciting for the
entire BMW Global Production Network as we are creating synergies and
increased efficiency by implementing lessons learned from around the
globe,” said Doug Bartow, Vice President for Paint at BMW Manufacturing.
Once the new paint shop and assembly facility
are operational, the BMW plant in Spartanburg will manufacture the BMW
X3, X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and X6 Sports Activity Coupe and their
respective variants for over 120 markets worldwide.
(June 15, 2009)