The fascinating power of
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
Customized for the
superior comfort – The production of seats exemplified.
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
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
• No consumption of water. No
• 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
• 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
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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
Fully automatic application of the base coat with high-speed rotation tools (left
7series in the infrared drying cabin (right pic)
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