Published on January 22nd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW opens up another engine factory in China
BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) opened a new engine plant with a light metal foundry in Shenyang today. The new location will produce the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder petrol engines and forms part of the BBA production network based in Shenyang in Northeastern China. BBA is a long-standing joint venture between the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. A total of around 2,000 BBA employees will work at the engine plant over the long term.
Both the engine plant and the light metal foundry incorporate the latest state-of-the-art production standards and will supply BMW Brilliance’s Dadong and Tiexi automotive plants. Capacity, which currently stands at up to 300,000 units per year, is tied to production volumes at the two automotive plants. In 2015, local automotive production reached more than 287,000 units. BBA funded the necessary investment from its own resources; no additional capital was needed by the two joint venture partners.
BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engines are characterised by an especially high level of efficiency and low emissions and represent the latest development in the BMW EfficientDynamics engine family. Using a high percentage of aluminium has significantly reduced the weight of drive trains. Heat management and acoustic features were also improved. At the heart of this engine range is the award-winning TwinPower Turbo technology, combining variable load control with state-of-the-art direct injection.
A special feature of the new engine generation is standardised, location-independent production using a so-called modular system. All engines of this generation are in-line engines and every derivative is produced on the basis of a core engine and a modular kit. This principle increases the proportion of identical parts used within each combustion type, i.e. petrol or diesel, to up to 60 per cent. Even around 40 per cent of the parts used in petrol and diesel engines are identical.
The standardised production system for modular engines forms synergies with the international BMW Group engine production locations in Munich (Germany), Steyr (Austria) and Hams Hall (UK): Value stream optimisation and economies of scale benefit production processes and make them more economical. These locations, which serve as competence centres for various engine types within the global engine production network, are able to share their know-how with other engine plants at any time.
All production processes at the BMW Brilliance engine plant meet the BMW Group’s high global standards for quality, safety and sustainability. Know-how from the BMW Group’s global engine production network not only benefitted planning and construction of the new plant, but also helped with the introduction of sustainable production processes and technologies for the latest generation of modular engines: Following the example of the BMW Group Plant Steyr (Austria), machining work uses a water recovery system, resulting in completely wastewater-free production. This process uses innovative combined membrane technologies to treat all wastewater from mechanical production and feed it back into manufacturing.
The foundry sets new standards for sustainable production and has a capacity of up to 15,000 tons of aluminium per year. It is modelled on its partner plant in Landshut, Germany, whose wealth of experience was integrated into production processes. Innovative manufacturing processes enable nearly emission-free production of sand cores. For the first time in China, inorganic binders are used and lead to a reduction of emissions of combustion residues by 98 per cent compared with the organic casting processes typically used in the industry. In addition, 90% of the sand used for casting can be recycled to reduce waste to a minimum. In 2009, the BMW Group became the first to use this state-of-the-art, eco-friendly technology completely in series production of castings worldwide.
The aluminium needed for casting will continue to be delivered in solid form and then liquified to around 760 degrees celsius in the on-site smelter. The “returns” from the casting process, i.e. metal residues separated from the raw cast during cleaning, are melted down in the foundry’s own smelting and holding furnaces and are reused. Innovative wire arc spraying technology (LDS) is also being introduced for production of cast-aluminium crankcases: The cylinder faces of all crankcases are coated with a wafer-thin layer of iron particles sprayed on in liquid form. This results in a lower weight and less friction in the engine leading to lower fuel consumption.