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BMW Group Pilot Plant builds BMW iNEXT prototypes

Auto News - Published on Thu, 22 Aug 2019

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On the occasion of the BMW iNEXT prototype production, the BMW Group is offering an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of its Pilot Plant in the heart of the Research & Innovation Centre. Prototypes of all vehicles are manufactured long before actual market launch, under the strictest secrecy in specially restricted areas of the facility. They are used for testing and to prepare for series assembly later. Experts from development and production work in close collaboration. When series manufacturing of the fully electric BMW iNEXT is launched in 2021, it will run on the same assembly line as combustion-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

The process steps for series production are defined and matured at the Pilot Plant, where experts also validate all of the vehicle functions, including electric and automated driving functions, and sensors for driver assistance systems. In addition, associates working on the BMW iNEXT are making use of brand-new digital tools for the very first time to support more intelligent, efficient operations.

The first few bodies-in-white of the BMW iNEXT are being assembled in the Pilot Plant bodyshop. The various sections are bonded with the help of a new technology: rotary bonding. This joins aluminium and high-strength steel by using the friction heat generated as a steel element pierces an aluminium part. The heat of the steel part fuses the two components.

Mr Udo Hänle head of Production Integration and Pilot Plant said that “Preparing a fully electric vehicle for series production is an exciting but challenging task. By the time of the official start of production, we will have built as many as 100 prototypes of the BMW iNEXT. Until then, the Pilot Plant will use a range of new innovations to streamline and speed up our processes even further. We are also already preparing our first production associates from Plant Dingolfing to work on the new product.”

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Posted By : Mohan Sharma on Thu, 22 Aug 2019
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