To this point in the process, BMW team members have worked meticulously to prepare the canvas. Now begins the work of our finish team to fill the vehicle with a unique combination of components, options, and luxuries that will make this BMW as distinctive as its owner. This is Assembly, where it all comes together.
The body – formed, painted, and protected – waits in the stacker, arranged in order. Sequenced parts such as instrument panel, front end, and powertrain are at the ready in other areas of the plant. What follows is a careful and intricate performance involving the flow of parts and precisely-timed processes. From this point on, every vehicle has a name.
- All computers and controls in Assembly are linked together by nearly 16,000 miles of communications cables.
- Ergonomics are very important in the Tilt area. Carriers position the car so associates can install parts on the underbody.
- Doors are removed from the car body and travel via an overhead conveyor to a separate door assembly line.
- On the door line, the glass, water seals, mirrors, airbags, speakers and other trim pieces are installed.
- The doors then travel on an overhead conveyor back to the main line and are reunited with the same car body.
- The Wiring Harness is the “nervous system” of the car’s electronics.
- The contents of the Wiring Harness bag are heated to about 100 degrees, which makes the thick wiring harness pieces more flexible and easier to install.
- The Wiring Harness is routed throughout the cabin, trunk, and engine area and fastened to the car body with clips and wire ties.
- A transponder is on every hood. This device helps track the car throughout the Assembly process.
- The paper taped to the car is the Build Sheet. Digit codes tell associates which part goes on the car.
- Powertrain is a separate assembly area. The engine, transmission, front/rear axles, and other parts are assembled here.
- A floor transport system is used to move the powertrain to the “Marriage” area.
- Engine Marriage is where every car becomes a BMW. The entire powertrain is raised as the car body is lowered.
- Fluid Fill: Most all fluids (radiator, brake, power steering, coolant, gas) are added here.
- We use a special gas that has additional cleaning agents and lubricants to help with the first car start-up.
- Roll Booth: The car is driven on rollers at speeds up to 85 mph, giving the engine and transmission its first good test.
- At Final Inspection, associates closely inspect the interior and exterior. Then the car is driven off the line.
- BMW Manufacturing exports about 70% of its cars to more than 140 markets throughout the world. Charleston, SC, is our primary port.