BMW has been honored as the top automaker for the seventh consecutive year on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The automaker has been insisting on maintaining its sustainable development strategy throughout the value chain, including design, production, sales and after-sales service.
BMW's plant in Leipzig represents the automaker's most advantaged technologies and facilities.
All of BMW's plants aim to showcase the company's century-long production experience and its most advanced and environmentally friendly technologies.
The company, which operates more than 20 factories worldwide, will soon open its Tiexi plant through its Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance .
This means that BMW's most advanced and environmentally friendly production technology will be on full display in the Tiexi plant.
The starting point of production at the Leipzig plant is a roughly 100-meter-long pressing line capable of producing most auto parts in 40 minutes, including the frame side plate, doors, car roof and engine cover.
The high-speed servo pressing machine in the workshop is the most advanced and fastest of its kind.
The pressing workshop in BMW Brilliance 's Tiexi plant will be completed by the end of 2012.
The same high-speed servo pressing machine will be employed in the Tiexi plant, enabling it to press highly intensified steel. Its efficiency will be three times that of a traditional hydraulic press.
This means that the workshop can not only cut down on the space required by two-thirds, but it also can reduce energy consumption, making manufacturing more flexible, he said.
The servo pressing technology can also greatly reduce noise from 92 decibels to 80 dB.
It will be the BMW group's most efficient pressing line.
Building better bodies
Hundreds of steel parts are welded inside the Leipzig plant's body assembly workshop. Having as many as 5,000 welding points ensures the car's durability.
The workshop hosts more than 700 robots, making it one of the most automated parts of the plant.
There are only a few workers on the production line, but its highly qualified staff is very efficient, handling the parts that require a human touch and monitoring the work of robots.
Car body quality is the basis for everything just as a concrete foundation is crucial to a building. A highly automated car body workshop guarantees the high quality of the company's cars.
The Tiexi plant is almost equally as automated. About 95 percent of its work will be done by robots.
The workshop's robots will use 25 percent less electricity. Meanwhile, computers in the workshop will use 14 percent less electricity.
'Perfect paint job'
The painting workshop shoulders two major responsibilities: It ensures that the body is dust free and paints it.
In the workshop, the body should first have a "bath", a series of complicated procedures to make sure that the body is dust free.
Then it will have four layers of lacquer. The first two are to prevent the body from erosion and other factors, like damage from pebbles kicked up while driving.
When the four layers are finished, it can be painted in different colors, which can cater to various customer demands.
The Tiexi plant's paint workshop will be the world's most environmentally friendly and sustainable auto paint workshop.
It has several highlights: The dry purification facility can greatly reduce water consumption.
The whole rotary reverse-dipping transport system can reduce consumption of chemical reagents and mitigate pollution to the environment. The integrated spray craftsmanship can greatly reduce energy use as well.
Each BMW rolling off the production line at the Leipzig plant is special and tailored for customers' distinctive demands.
The assembly shop adds "character" to each car.
The assembly workshop has the most workers. Pressing, welding and painting are areas in which robots are preferable, but assembly still relies on human labor.
Before a car can be delivered to the owner, it needs to undergo a series of inspections to make sure it completely meets BMW's quality standards.
The design of the assembly line in Leipzig is attributed to an engineer in the company named Jean Crowne.
In 2000, Crowne, who was 27 at the time, was tasked with designing an assembly line with more flexibility.
The company's top 15 engineers for a meeting in Austria, ultimately producing a blueprint that was thought to be nearly perfect.
According to the design, the assembly line has four branches laid out like the fingers of a hand.
The idea brought significant improvement on the flexibility and efficiency of the assembly line, so it was transplanted to BMW's planned facility in Tiexi in the city of Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province.
Building a rational logistics network is crucial to car manufacturing.
In the Leipzig plant, some 10,000 cubic meters of materials need to be delivered every single day, which means highly efficient and accurate logistics as well as good interaction between suppliers are required.
The logistics center is the key part of the whole process.
Next to the final assembly workshop, it is the place where car seats and doors are installed. Then they will be sent to the final assembly workshop for assembly.
The Tiexi plant's logistics center will be more scientific.
Railway transportation will enable trains to drive directly to the plant, bringing needed parts and taking away cars.
This will no doubt greatly increase transportation efficiency and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
The new plant's logistics can even be described as "tightfisted."
For example, packages of the locally made spare parts must be recycled. For packages of imported components, the logistics center should also pick out parts that are still useful and recycle them.