Bavar­ian Auto cel­e­brates as­sem­bling new BMW 5 se­ries

LO­CAL COM­PO­NENTS OF BMWS AT 45%, SAYS ZAKARIA

The Daily News Egypt - - AUTOMOTIVE - By Ahmed Amer and Mo­hamed El-Rouby

BMW is one of the old­est and most fa­mous com­pa­nies for man­u­fac­tur­ing cars, engines, and mo­tor­cy­cles in the world. The com­pany owns the Rolls-Royce and Mini brands. Daily News Egypt took a tour around the fac­tory of Bavar­i­anAuto Group, the agent of BMW, in the in­dus­trial zone of Sixth Oc­to­ber, where it wit­nessed the phases of pro­duc­ing BMW mod­els lo­cally.The pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of the fac­tory is 5,000 ve­hi­cles per year.

At the end of the tour, Mo­hamed Zakaria, gen­eral man­ager of Bavar­ian Auto Group, re­viewed the phases of as­sem­bling BMW mod­els in Egypt, start­ing from the paint phase to in­stalling the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior com­po­nents,all the way to test­ing the car af­ter adding fi­nal touches.

The new 5 Se­ries

The tour came to cel­e­brate the start of lo­cally as­sem­bling the 5 Se­ries, which comes in two ver­sions.The i520 is equipped with a four-cylin­der 2000cc en­gine,a tur­bocharger,gen­er­at­ing 184hp at a torque of 290 Nm,and has a price of EGP 1.375m.

The second ver­sion is the i530, with a four-cylin­der 2000cc en­gine, a tur­bocharger, and 252hp at a torque of 290 Nm, for EGP 1.65m.

The fac­tory op­er­ates via a semi knocked-down (SKD) sys­tem, which means cars’ as­sem­bly takes place with­out any weld­ing works on the in­ner or outer struc­tures.The chas­sis comes empty from the par­ent fac­tory.

It is coated with a layer to pro­tect it against rust­ing, then painted, and given a num­ber.Af­ter­wards, the cabin and its com­po­nents are in­stalled, fol­lowed by the trac­tion ma­chines and the en­gine.

The Bavar­ian group fac­tory has three as­sem­bly lines. How­ever, it op­er­ates at only two-thirds of its ca­pac­ity as a re­sult of the de­cline in market sales and fall in cus­tomers’ pur­chas­ing power over the past pe­riod. He added that the sit­u­a­tion was so bad that the two-thirds ca­pac­ity was re­cently raised from only one-third ear­lier, say­ing the sit­u­a­tion im­proved with the as­sem­bling of new mod­els.

Zakaria said that as­sem­bling parts is an in­te­gral part of the car in­dus­try glob­ally,adding that there is a real car in­dus­try in Egypt, not­ing that lo­cal com­po­nents in the car pro­duced in the fac­tory rep­re­sent 45% of a car’s to­tal com­po­nents.

The per­cent­age of pro­duc­tion and paint lines reach 15% of that ra­tio.As for the lo­cal parts,the Bavar­i­anAuto Group re­lies on the Egypt branch of the com­pany LEONI to pro­vide it with elec­tric parts. Mo­bica pro­vides it with seats.

Pro­duc­tion phases

The pro­duc­tion phase starts with the paint stage.

Then, ac­cord­ing to Zakaria, each part of this im­por­tant phase con­forms to Euro­pean stan­dards. He re­fused the ques­tion­ing of the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the cars that come out of the com­pany’s fac­tory in Egypt,claim­ing that they are repli­cas of Euro­pean cars.

The paint phase is di­vided into four main stages.The first is elec­trode­po­si­tion to pre­vent rust­ing through im­mers­ing the body of the car in a spe­cialised tank.The car is then taken to the primer phase.

Once the body of the car is im­mersed in the flu­ids re­quired in the paint phase,it is ex­posed to a high tem­per­a­ture of 170– 180 de­grees Cel­sius in spe­cial ovens for the process with the aim of re­mov­ing any residues in the body of the car.

The third phase in­cludes ap­ply­ing the re­quired colour, and the last phase is ap­ply­ing var­nish to give the car’s colour a spe­cial shine.The en­tire paint process for a sin­gle car lasts 15 min­utes.

Zakaria added that paint ma­te­ri­als used in cars glob­ally vary in qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency, not­ing that BMW uses the high­est qual­ity paint in the world and takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the sed­i­men­ta­tion rates in these ma­te­ri­als and their ex­piry date.

The next phase is done man­u­ally by spe­cial­ists who spray paint cars in an op­er­a­tions room, ac­cord­ing to Zakaria.

In this room, the air flows from the top.Work­ers wear pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, gog­gles to pro­tect their eyes, and spe­cial fil­ters on their faces to pu­rify the air they in­hale.

The Bavar­i­anAuto Group uses spe­cial colours for spe­cial mod­els not used in oth­ers, which is done af­ter re­fer­ring to the par­ent com­pany.This adds a sense of di­ver­sity in the cars and gives cus­tomers a long list of op­tions.

Af­ter the var­nish phase, the car goes into the fi­nal man­ual as­sem­bly stage.

Zakaria added that the par­ent com­pany pays at­ten­tion to the small­est de­tails dur­ing that phase, in­clud­ing the crew, glass, seats, dash­board, head­lights, and en­gine.

He ex­plained that dur­ing the phase, tech­ni­cians move through a spe­cific process that is dis­played on com­puter screens. It in­cludes many sub-phases, start­ing with lay­ing foun­da­tions, then build­ing on them, and so forth.

Each tech­ni­cian work­ing in the fi­nal as­sem­bly phase has the abil­ity, through con­tin­u­ous train­ing at the com­pany, to an­a­lyse any mistakes and avoid re­peat­ing them.

As­sem­bly

The first phase of as­sem­bly is Stream Line,which ends with in­stalling all in­te­rior car sup­plies, in­clud­ing the steer­ing wheel, seats,and dash­board.The second phase is called Over­head, which in­cludes in­stalling all the bot­tom parts of the car’s body.

The Over­head phase in­cludes in­stalling the rear and front axis,some pro­tec­tive de­vices un­der­neath the car to pro­tect the bumper, the en­gine, and front and back lights.

The en­gine comes from Ger­many mostly in one piece. How­ever, there are some small parts of it in­stalled by the fac­tory’s work­ers.

At the end of the next phase of the fi­nal as­sem­bly, the wheels are in­stalled. Then the Fi­nal Line phase be­gins. It in­volves fill­ing the ra­di­a­tor, brak­ing fluid, and the AC’s freon, as well as recharg­ing the bat­tery, test­ing the en­gine and ex­haust emis­sions,electricity,per­for­mance, and in­ter­con­nec­tion of the tech­no­log­i­cal parts and their suit­abil­ity for use through the most ad­vanced de­vices that con­form to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

In this stage, the car’s an­gles are also elec­tron­i­cally ad­justed, and the car en­ters road sim­u­la­tion for full test­ing.The com­pany will only give the green light when it checks, us­ing a com­puter, that the car is free of any de­fects.

Ac­cu­racy and qual­ity

Zakaria said that with each new model en­ter­ing the fac­tory’s pro­duc­tion line, the com­pany trains work­ers to deal with it for at least a month.The train­ing is led by foreign ex­perts from Ger­many through­out pro­duc­tion.

There is also a Ger­man ex­pert who mon­i­tors the qual­ity of the fac­tory who vis­its the fac­tory daily to mon­i­tor and in­spect all the cars com­ing out of it.

All ve­hi­cles in fi­nal as­sem­bly en­ter the so-called Qual­ity Gate,dur­ing which dis­tin­guished work­ers re­view the work of their peers.

The fac­tory also con­tains an Early Warn­ing Sys­tem (EWS), which is a sys­tem to de­tect any is­sues with a car at the Bavar­ian group’s ser­vice cen­tres.

Zakaria said that in very rare cases, de­fects ap­pear af­ter as­sem­bling the parts, me­chan­i­cal or elec­tronic.

If a de­fect is dis­cov­ered, the car does not re­turn to the pro­duc­tion line again, but rather en­ters spe­cial lines to rem­edy the is­sue.Then,af­ter all the tests,and be­fore the car comes out of the fac­tory,the BMW logo is added to the car.

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