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The fascinating power of production.
Production of the BMW 7series in Dingolfing (Germany)

The fascinating power of production

The BMW Plant in Dingolfing: Flexible manufacture of automobiles at its finest.

From the steel roll to the body-in-white.

Throwing a glance at colours.

Customized for the customer.

Making available superior comfort – The production of seats exemplified.

Quick processes: Punctual, prompt, appropriate.

The BMW Plant in Dingolfing: A survey – Milestones on the way to success.

General conspectus: Pictures from the BMW Plant in Dingolfing

 

High-tech painting captivates your senses.

The paintwork of an automobile is much more than the body-in-white’s multilayered protective high-tech skin which provides for corrosion resistance and gives the car its shine throughout its entire lifecycle. An automobile’s colour reveals individual taste and is, amongst other things, one of the most important characteristics of an automobile that very effectively appeals to the senses.

High demands on surfaces combined with sustained production. In its paint shops the BMW Group has always been very demanding when it comes to the surfaces’ quality in terms of looks and functionality. A further integral part of the BMW Group’s philosophy is its commitment to sustained production, that is making production as environmentally friendly as possible.

Years ago the Dingolfing plant established a milestone and took a great leap forward into the future in terms of environmentally friendly production of automobiles when it introduced the powder-based clear coat technology.

The Dingolfing plant was the first plant to use this technology in series production. The use of powder-based clear coating and water-soluble lacquers dramatically cuts emissions and at the same time ensures high profitability through special methods of application.

Milestones in the use of the powder-based clear coat technology – a survey.

As early as in May 1997 the BMW Group was the world’s first automobile manufacturer to use environmentally friendly powder-based clear lacquer, which gives the colours an even more brilliant shine. Since then this technology has been constantly refined and developed even further. The white high-tech powder is applied by spray pistols. When the powder leaves the pistols, electrostatic charge is built up through electrodes, that allow the powder particles to stick to the earthed body. When the car goes into the hot chamber, the white powder melts because of the heat, becomes transparent and unites with the coloured water-soluble paint.

Powder-based clear coating offers many advantages: The highest possible standard of quality is offered to the customer, as the highest BMW quality standards in terms of looks and functionality are fulfilled.

Application of powder clear coat in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany
Fully automatic application of powder clear coat

Commitment to sustained production.

The powder-based clear coat technology sets further benchmarks in terms of an environmentally friendly production:

No emissions caused by solvents.

No consumption of water. No wastewater.

There is no necessity for the use of purifying agents in the process.

The utilization ratio of the material is almost 100 percent. The material is recycled within the paint shop, so there is hardly any waste.

No paint sludge.

For comparison: Solvents in conventional clear coating systems make up 55 percent – the bodies are sprayed on with 1 to 1.5 kg of solvents in a wet coating process. The clear coating remains on the body, whereas the hydrocarbon compounds escape. This is not the case with the powderbased clear coating. This product consists of dry solids, which does away with the need to use solvents.

For the workers in the paint shop the use of the powder-based coat technology means that they

use a stable and robust type of coating,

have a material, that is easier to be processed than wet lacquer,

are confronted with less maintenance work,

constantly broaden their unique know-how in dealing with powderbased clear coat technology.

Everyday work demands of our employees flexibility and qualification.

It has become a routine matter at the BMW plant in Dingolfing to coat and paint various model series with their very own characteristics with different materials such as steel and aluminium in one production line in highly flexible and variable processes.

As is the case with many divisions in automobile construction, the division responsible for the application of coatings and paints is equipped with a high level of automation (up to 100 percent). Nevertheless, there is still the need for highly-qualified lacquerers, process technicians, maintenance workers and engineers who are responsible for quality and quantity, constantly monitoring and controlling all processes.

Painting the new 7 Series model – a challenging task.

Although the new BMW 7 Series is subject to the same processes and proceeds through the same facilities within the Dingolfing paint shop as all the other model series do, intensive preparations had to be done before the commencement of series production in 2001. The biggest challenges the workforce faced were the colour management, the body’s dimensions, the new surfaces as a result of the new design language, the mixed construction (aluminium/steel) and various other constructional details.

Striking the right note.

As part of the colour management 13 varnishes were put on trial. They were applied to 142 pretest and pilot production cars, assessed and measured in 32 operative tests. Eight of the 13 varnishes were chosen to be used on the new 7 Series model and included for the first time in the colour programme. Moreover, there are available as an option well over 200 individual colours.

One of the biggest challenges the workforce in the paint shop was confronted with, was to ensure the coherence of colour throughout the entire body, as the design of the luxury sedan provides for, for example, extensive surfaces on the shell whose structure is seldom interrupted and integrated large-surface add-on pieces. The shell design also called for multi-variable application facilities. The entire painting process had to be redesigned in order to ensure supreme surface quality when coating the new BMW Series model with its body dimensions on an overall area of as many as 92 square metres (total areaincl. cavities).

New robots are used for the application of the top coat, a further finishing line was installed to follow the dip painting facility. In addition to that, adjustments were made to the entire conveyor system as well as to sealing, coating and drying facilities, the total investment amounting to around 5 million Euros.

The body turns a somersault – The rotational dipping system (RoDip) – an industry first.

On 30th October 2001 a so-called rotational dipping system (RoDip) intended for large-scale use was commissioned in the Dingolfing paint shop which was then an industry first. This most progressive technology has also been used at the BMW Group’s Munich plant.

Pretreatment of the 7series (E65) body shell prior to the paining process in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany
Pretreatment of the 7series body shell prior to the painting process - dipping the body shell into one of twelve dip-basins

What does the term RoDip actually mean? The term comes from the English verbs "to rotate" and to "to dip". As opposed to conventional pre-treatment facilities, the body is now dipped vertically into each paint bath where it turns on its own axis or "turns a somersault".

RoDip – flexible and efficient.

After the joining of the steel and aluminium components the body-inwhite has to be pre-treated (cleaned, degreased and phosphatized). To do this, the different body types are dipped and rotated at the same time. The RoDip system stands out through its flexibility as far as the processing of various body types is concerned (it can handle bodies up to a length of six metres and up to a weight of 700 kg). Moreover, it offers a high degree of process flexibility, that is flexibility as to the use of different materials (steel and aluminium).

Pretreatment technology of body shells prior to the painting process in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany
Latest pretreatment technology of body shells prior to the painting process - the 7series body shell rotates around his vertical axis once per dip-basin

Other advantages: the facility operates in a most flexible way, which means that the facility allows the operators to leave out individual baths, requires less space than comparable continuous pass plants and features intelligent conveyor technology. Moreover, thanks to the 360° rotational movement the body-in-white’s cavities can be much betterflooded and emptied.

Cleaning of the 7series (E65) body prior to the painting process in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany
f the 7series body shell prior to the painting process - flowing off the flooded sections of the body shell in one of twelve dip-basins

From the "Bodywasher" to the most important phosphate coating.

In Dingolfing the RoDip plant with its 10 full-dip baths is preceded by the so-called "Bodywasher". Here the body-in-white, which again rotates through 360°, undergoes a type-specific prepurification during which it is intensively showered with jets of water. After that, the future automobile proceeds through a contour-controlled brush facility, before it is finally dipped into the following baths.

What follows is the main component of the new pre-treatment procedure:

The phosphate coating combined with the separation of sludge, being a world-first achievement. Four membrane filter presses allow the separation of sludge with an aluminium content of up to 30 percent and ensure a constant amount of filtered matter remaining within the cycle. The entire pre-treatment process is monitored online. The chemical composition of the individual baths and the treatment of the wastewater is masterminded by a high-precision control system. This saves material and reduces the use of water.

In all, the RoDip technology adds to the phosphate layer’s homogeneity and purity, thus enhancing the exterior paint’s quality. The phosphate layer is a most important foundation for further coatings, thus playing a vital role in the protection against corrosion.

Computer-aided simulations reduce planning time. When the preparations were made for the application of paint to the new BMW 7 Series model, computer-aided simulation was used for the first time on a large-scale basis to plan the passage through the hot chamber, the development of manufacturing facilities as well as the manufacturing inspection of all paint-specific structural characteristics of the body. These new technologies creating a virtual reality helped to considerably increase the quality of planning. The paint shop in Dingolfing – a short survey.
 

Employees approximately 1,500 (working in three shifts)
Area of production 86,000 square metres
Capacity and processing times up to 1,300 bodies a day; average processing time: 18 hours; average process production time: 7 hours per body
Mean parameters of the painted body up to a totalsurface of 92 qm outside and inside, the outer surface to be coated amounting 12-14 qm
Paint system comprises 5 functionallayers
Quantity of material used:
  2,2 kg phosphate coat
    7,9 kg primer coat applied by cathodic dip painting (20 µm)
  3,2 kg filler (30-40 µm)
  3,7 kg basic paint (12-25 µm)
  1,6 kg clear coat (55-65 µm)
  21 filler paints
  Number of standard colours 30
  Number of optional colours > 200

Application of the base coat with high-speed rotation tools in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany   7series (E65) in the infrared drying cabin in the BMW plant Dingolfing / Germany
Fully automatic application of the base coat with high-speed rotation tools (left pic)
7series in the infrared drying cabin (right pic)

 
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Source: BMW Group. March 2002.



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