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Old 07-05-2007, 04:07 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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Regensburg Factory Tour Report - home of the E93

In effort to maximize the "business room package" here at the Munich Marriott which includes an internet connection, here is a reporting on this afternoon's tour of the Regensburg factory. This thread is also a sequel to one titled 1st Report from Europe which contains a number of photos taken yesterday and today here at the delivery center and in Munich. Below is one of the photos which sort of complies with the 12 hour rule given the time zone changes and fact it was taken hours ago after our earlier ED delivery in the morning. As I report this from my room here at the Munich Marriott the photo records where our newly delivered E93 335i "cabriolet" a/k/a the 3-Series folding hardtop Convertible is currently parked out front.

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Old 07-05-2007, 05:00 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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And to continue with the reporting.....

Procede to next post for edited report of The Regensburg factory tour where the E93 Convertible is built.

Last edited by Northcar; 07-05-2007 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:02 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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And to continue with the reporting.....

We were expecting a tour in German but lucked out because a group of high school exchange students and their teachers from Austin Texas drove up from Augsburg (ironically where the Kuka (sp?) robots that actually build the cars are manufactured.

We were taken through the Presswerkes (sheet metal stamping), Body Shop (where the stamped pieces are assembed using glue, bolts, spot welds, and seam welds (in that order) and 98% of the body assembly is done by robots. Some of the final seam welds require human welding to reach places on the underbody that small hands can only reach. Those welders are supplied air to breathe in their masks so they do not have to inhale fumes. Those shops were followed by the Paint Shop and the Assembly line. Tour lasted approximately 3 hours. Hit a torrential rain storm for an hour on our route back to Munich which tested the waterproofing of the E93's unfolded convertible hardtop with nary a drop gaining entry.

The following (and above) are somewhat sequential notes taken of points and facts that may be of interest. Not all are chronological. The tour began with a brief film and there were stops along the tour where flat screen videos were shown of specific relevance. The Regensburg plant was built from 1982 and production began in 1986. The site occupies 140 Hektars, whatever that is.

100% galvanized steel is used. Thickness (depending on part) varies from .17 mm to 2mm. 220 tons of steel is used each day. The stamping presses are mounted on rubber blocks and each pounding exerts 8,100 tons of pressure fourty times each minute. This is the weight of pressure that the Eifel Tower exerts.

One car a minute is manufactured at the Regensburg plant. It operates 6 days a week with multiple shifts and is only closed from midnight to 5 am in the morning. I learned later that the final assembly of the convertible tops for the E93 is one aspect of assembly that carries over into Sunday because of production demand. It appears ten to fifteen percent of the cars manufactured at Regensburg are E93 convertibles. 3 series sedans, coupes, 1 series sedans mostly round out the balance of the production at Regensburg. Some stampings are done for the five series but those parts are shipped out.

There is only one production line and all cars are made on it per customer or dealer order. No stock cars are built absent an order. About 700 car bodies in various colors are kept in a warehouse area to substitute as needed. Parts are made available on the just in time approach. Unlike Toyota and Mercedes factories that I have visited it does not appear that any worker can stop the line at any time. Interestingly all cars are "married" at the same single location although there is a side detour available at that point should it be needed. Marriage is the point where the engine assembly is mated to the body.

The paint shop includes robots that are wrapped in "clothes" to keep the overspray off and the clothes can be removed and washed. The actual spraying of the paint appears to be coming out of fingers at the end of the robot arm. One of the robots has what looks like a big nail at the end of his arm and he sticks it into the door cavity and uses it to open the door so it can be painted by another robot. It looks like the door is being opened by a single finger.

Interestingly a white car we saw being painted had evident orange peel at least at the stage where the white paint was first sprayed onto it. There are 16 work steps done in the paint shop from corrosion baths to installing sound proofing materials. The last step in the paint shop is sealing of the hollow cavities in the bodies with wax.There are 20 standard colors. The paint goes on 130 microns thick (thickness of a human hair) and the weight of the paint on a car totals 18 kilograms.

Given the recent side impact crash testing criticisms related to the 3 series convertible I was especially curious to see what type of side impact bar was positioned in the passenger doors of the convertible. There were two bars evident placed in a V configuration laterally. The coupes and convertibles prior to painting have black pieces where the forward front fenders are situated. These are made of some type of carbon fiber material and not aluminum.

1000 cars a day and 270,000 a year are built at Regensburg. (One each minute based on operating hours.)

There were self-guided carts moving all over the floor but they posed no danger to the tour members as they were programmed to stop if they encountered a person. The forklifts operated by workers though were another matter and the tour guide was constantly warning us to get to the side to let the fork lifts get through.

It takes two hours on the assembly line subsequent to the wedding of the engines to the bodies before the engines are started. 3 liters of gas is placed in the cars to be delivered in Europe and 6 liters for those headed to the U.S. The foreign export cars head to Bremerhaven by rail and the European cars are placed on lorries (trucks.)

The paint is electrostatically charged which cuts down on overspray. On the assembly line there are 8 to 18 persons in a working group. There are a group of workers called jumpers" who are available to substitute for workers who need to take a break or who are sick. The groups switch around jobs to avoid boredom. Same as Mercedes does. 7 to 8 persons check each car at the end of the line. There is only a one tenth of a millimeter clearance available for the wedding of the engine assembly into the body assembly. At that point a robot bolts the engine on with 26 bolts.

The cars with engines are tested on the line at a speed up to 180 kilimeters per hour.

There are 300 apprentices being trained at all times. The actual workers are called associates of which there are 10,000 at Regensburg.

A ten minute interruption of the line (which occurs if one inadvertently brings a cell phone on the tour and its signal interferes with the manufacturing signals) costs 300 thousand Euros based on the loss of 10 minutes of production time during which 10 cars valued at 35 thousand euros each would have been produced.

There are 20,000 parts in each car and 500 suppliers. The seats for example are made by a supplier in Rekersdorf (sp?).

In closing, it was an interesting reunion for our car as it (as all E93 convertibles) are built in Regensburg and its first road trip after leaving the European Delivery center in Munich was the trip home.

Last edited by Northcar; 07-05-2007 at 05:25 PM.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2007, 05:36 PM
2nynbak 2nynbak is offline
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Nice report on the production facility. We toured Regensburg on May 30 the day after we picked up our car. We did not get to see the paint shop for some reason but did see the marrying of the convertible tops to the E93s which they said they usually don't show.

How did you remember so many of the stats? To me the most interesting thing was the robots picking up the chassis and triwling it around and having it just miss another immovable object by an inch or so.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:26 PM
325xi_dc 325xi_dc is offline
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Now that's what you call some detailed reporting. Nice job.

My wife and I took the Regensburg tour on June 26 after taking delivery of a 335i coupe in Munich, and we too were not allowed to see the paint shop. The guide said Z4 prototypes were being worked on, so instead they showed the group a movie on how the cars are painted.

The guide also said in about two years all Z4 production will move from Spartanburg, S.C., to Regensburg. And X3 production will move from Graz, Austria, to Spartanburg. She said it makes more business sense to move BMW's entire SUV production to the USA. This was news to me.

We saw several M3 coupes on the assembly line — the front amber reflectors on U.S. models are truly horrific, think brown leather shoes with a tux — and we drove alongside a completely debadged M3 sedan (four doors) as we exited the plant.

Such a cool way to spend three hours.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:52 PM
clc5174 clc5174 is offline
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Great, detailed report Makes me wish I'd done ED for my 'vert.
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Old 07-05-2007, 08:02 PM
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Thank you for great report. We touring Munich plant where are robots only do 55%- to 65% of Assembly.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:02 PM
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Great details on the plant...I've had 3 BMWs from that plant but have never visited it....sounds gigantic!
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:29 PM
Fredric Fredric is offline
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Nice report! I visited the Munich plant on June 26th, and the details are quite similar, though they "only" produce about 850 cars per day. The robots are truly amazing the way they work in teams, and twirl the parts around to put them in position for welding, etc. I found the paint shop very interesting as well. Prior to entering, the car body is first blown off by powerful jets of air to remove any dust, and then passes through large rollers of Emu feathers, which we were told are the softest in the world. Also worth mentioning is that there are a number of points at which parts or assemblies are randomly pulled from the production line for testing.
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Old 07-06-2007, 06:51 AM
jerrykdc jerrykdc is offline
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Nice report

The production is amazingly efficient, but what really amazes me is how they move and ship all of the cars everyday after they are built.
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:35 AM
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Thanks for the detailed production process description!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northcar View Post
The site occupies 140 Hektars, whatever that is.
1,4 square kilometers, if that helps
Or 346 acres, if you prefer.
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:10 AM
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A nicely detailed report of your factory tour. Hope to hear more of your trip as it progresses. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:55 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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Thanks all for the comments.

Interesting to hear about the factory prototype of the Z4 being worked on the week prior to our visit. When we entered the Paint shop there was a vehicle covered in a large shroud. I joked to my son that it must be the new Mercedes 4 door "coupe" competitor that BMW recently showed off in China.
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Old 07-08-2007, 05:06 PM
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Great write up on Regensburg,we went to Dingolfing and were equally impressed,but didn't get to see the paint shop or upholstery department.Looking forward to your pictures,have an awesome time !
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:58 AM
mnudel mnudel is offline
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Excellent writeup. Brings back memories from our may 07 tour. One interesting tidbit that impressed me was that the workers are allowed to have beer on their lunch breaks. Other than that I think you covered it all. Definately one of the highlights of our trip to pickup my E93. I wholeheartedly recommend this tour to everyone.
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:12 AM
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One other tidbit I remember from our tour: All BMW cars produced for countries throughout the world have the same horn except one.......Japan, which has it's own distinct sound. Who knew!
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi_dc View Post
The guide also said in about two years all Z4 production will move from Spartanburg, S.C., to Regensburg. And X3 production will move from Graz, Austria, to Spartanburg. She said it makes more business sense to move BMW's entire SUV production to the USA. This was news to me.
Cool. This would mean ED of Z4 will soon be possible, no?
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:35 PM
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Cool. This would mean ED of Z4 will soon be possible, no?
I'm hoping this is true as well. We'd have to learn the true meaning of "packing light!"
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:37 PM
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Great, detailed report Makes me wish I'd done ED for my 'vert.
Yes you do. You gotta do ED next time!
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:32 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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Cool. This would mean ED of Z4 will soon be possible, no?

For what it is worth, my son (who was more observant than I) noticed that the presumed Z4 prototype under wraps had evident flared fenders.
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Old 08-08-2007, 12:31 AM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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From recent August posts I see there is a liklihood that the Munich factory tour may have an admission fee once Welt is up and running. Good chance that Regensburg could remain no charge though as it is more separate from Welt, being 75 miles distant from the Welt and Munich.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:34 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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No fee for Euro Delivery customers from USA

Latest word is that even the Munich Plant tour will remain free for U.S. customers picking up their cars on European Delivery.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:45 AM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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Check out Flyga3's excellent reporting on the Munich Factory Tour for comparison. You will need to scroll down to the subheading titled "Munich Factory Tour Notes."


https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...=1#post2688831
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:24 PM
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Wow good report, I must have missed it originally.

I was just wondering where the Cabs are being built as I was trying to figure out if I wanted to take another factory tour or not.

Since Regensburg is the motherland, I'll definitely be taking another tour.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calif65GM View Post
Wow good report, I must have missed it originally.

I was just wondering where the Cabs are being built as I was trying to figure out if I wanted to take another factory tour or not.

Since Regensburg is the motherland, I'll definitely be taking another tour.

Good luck on your upcoming May ED!
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