How the 2020 BMW X7 luxury SUV is made


Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: South Carolina, the home of Plant Spartanburg, BMW’s largest global production plant. Within these walls, 10,000 employees and 400 robots labour to make 1,400 vehicles a day. 3.9 million vehicles have been built here. Now, it’s time to make room for a new model of BMW, the X7.

The X7 is BMW’s answer to the rising demand for ultra-luxury SUVs. BMW spared no expense. The X7 is tall, wide, and chock-full of technology. We’ll watch the X7 travel through three stages, the body shop, the paint shop, and assembly until it emerges from Plant Spartanburg complete.

This is the body shop. Here, over 400 robots and 450 humans weld and rivet materials together that will be the car’s body. Not only is the body shop responsible for form, seamless body lines, but also function, aerodynamic efficiency, and frame-welded stability. Robots weld a tailgate to the body. This section of the body shop, where doors, hood, and tailgate are attached, is entirely automated. Robots manoeuvre doors in place and weld them to the frame. Next, the hood. Inspecting the X7 body takes a human touch. Staff eye the car body for imperfections. About six hours have elapsed since the X7 began in the body shop. The body is complete and ready for paint.

The paint shop. Two halls, Paint Shop North and Paint Shop South, comprise BMW Manufacturing’s paint shop. Inside these sterile environments, staff, bolstered by 100 robots, add paint, coats that prevent corrosion, supplemental bead seams of seal for sound deadening, and cavity wax for improved rust protection. There are over one dozen stages in painting an X7, and a computerised tracking system monitors throughout.

The paint shop applies five coats: phosphate, E-coat, base coat one, base coat two, and clear coat. Before leaving the paint shop, the car body will have travelled 4 miles in about 12 hours laden with a little more than 3/4 a gallon of paint. The body, formed, painted, and protected, waits in the stacker, arranged in order. A build sheet is attached to each with digit codes that tell associates which parts go on the car.

At another part of the plant, the finish team readies sequenced parts such as instrument panels, front ends, and power trains. What follows is a careful and intricate performance involving the flow of parts and precisely timed processes as the finish team fills the vehicle with a combination of components, options, and luxuries that make each X7 distinct.

This is assembly. Where machines worked independently at other parts of the plant, machines here work in tandem with human staff to create ergonomic environments. Here, for example, a hydraulic arm assists staff to navigate a heavy dash into place at the front of the X7. Assembly uses a similar system to introduce seats to their new homes. A floor transport system is used to move the power train to the “marriage” area.

Engine marriage is where every car becomes a BMW. The entire power train is raised as the car body is lowered. A carrier system lifts the X7 into the air so employees can access the undercarriage. Here, they install the exhaust system. The finish team fits body pieces like bumpers, fenders, grill, and headlights to the body of the X7. Staff install wheels to the now complete X7.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.