BMW invests $200M in new press shop.

Date02 March 2022

BMW Plant Spartanburg will expand with construction of a 219,000-square-foot press shop slated for a summer 2024 opening.

The more than $200 million investment, announced at the S.C. Automotive Summit in Greenville March 3, is expected to create 200 jobs in the Upstate. The foundation for the project has already been laid, according to Robert Engelhorn, CEO of BMW Manufacturing.

The press shop located on the BMW Plant Spartanburg campus will take raw coils of steel, cut them into blanks and stamp sheet metal parts for future BMW models, he said during the announcement. These components include hang-on parts such as the vehicles' four doors, fenders, exterior body sides and lift gate.

"The press shop is a big cornerstone for us," Engelhorn told GSA Business Report, adding that the stamped parts serve as the fundament of the car's design.

The press line includes five press or stamping stations equipped with servo technology, which increases the output capacity of the presses. The correct press tool or die is fitted onto the press using an overhead crane. A crossbar feeder robot feeds the blank from one press station to the next throughout the process for additional trimming and formation.

The addition will be defined by new developments in automation technology, which Englehorn said was the key to scaling hurdles faced by the industry over the past two years. Closed-loop production systems and artificial intelligence are helping the company streamline its logistics processes, while 3D digital models assist in product planning.

"We are facing challenging times. The impact of the pandemic and supply chain bottlenecks will continue to challenge us," he said. "And all of us here today are most likely experiencing a significant transformation in how we do business now. We at BMW are rethinking our processes and introducing new technologies and relations to sustain our role as premium manufacturers."

One of the additional challenges Englehorn addressed was the ongoing shortage of computer chips.

"For semiconductors, we can say that a least for last year, we did not lose a single car," he later told GSA Business Report. "For sure we will...

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