BMW opens new Mexico plant for 3 Series car production
Kuka robots assemble BMW 3 Series cars at the automaker's new plant in Mexico. BMW invested heavily in automation and Industry 4.0 connectivity at the plant.
BMW Group

BMW opens new Mexico plant for 3 Series car production

Automaker invests more than $1 billion in production equipment, Industry 4.0 connectivity.

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San Luis Potosi, Mexico – BMW Group has begun Series 3 car production at its new plant in Mexico.

Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production, said, “We aim to achieve a balance in our production and sales in the different world regions... Plant San Luis Potosi will significantly boost our regional production flexibility in the Americas. From here, we are delivering our locally produced BMW 3 Series Sedan to customers worldwide.”

The company has invested more than $1 billion in the new production location, which already employs 2,500 people. It will have a capacity of up to 175,000 units per year once ramp-up is completed.

The plant is working with four technical institutes in this area and has already trained 250 apprentices in technical occupations.

Hermann Bohrer, director of the Mexican plant, said, “We use innovative Industry 4.0 technologies, including new automation solutions and modern assistance systems. Sustainability was also a major focus from the beginning – and we are setting new standards in this area.”

The BMW Group used digital 3D plans during construction of the plant, for the building itself and for the installation of equipment. During every phase of construction, architects entered specific information, such as location, dimensions and completion date into digital models. Digital 3D-scanning technology was also used during construction for the first time. Combining these two technologies allowed for real-time analysis of construction progress and cost-efficient modifications, providing the BMW Group with continuous planning reliability.

Smart Maintenance Assistant Software is being used for the first time, enabling proactive maintenance throughout the plant to be planned, increasing equipment availability. Service activities are based on current, intelligently organized system data instead of predefined maintenance intervals. Using smart devices such as tablets and smartphones, staff receive all relevant information regarding equipment status.

Various Industry 4.0 technologies are used, for example, in assembly, where screens have largely replaced paper throughout the assembly process. Two screens per takt provide staff with all the information they need – information which, in the past, was only available on paper. This digital job card is being used for the first time at the BMW Group plant in Mexico.

Robots and employees work directly alongside one another in engine pre-assembly, cooperating in a way which plays to the strengths of each. Robots have the power to turn the heavy convertor, while the employees have the manual dexterity to make the final adjustments to fit them together precisely.