BMW Press Shop Swindon

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Bader + Mack Architekten

A new BMW automated steel pressing facility.

McLaughlin & Harvey has constructed a new automated steel pressing facility at the BMW Group’s Swindon plant. The new press will produce steel panels for the MINI plant in Oxford at twice the rate of the old equipment which it replaces, with the steel blanks and finished panels handled by a new fleet of Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

The use of AGVs throughout the process has streamlined logistics considerably, in particular with the use of a giant AGV which can transport up to six tonnes of material. This is a technological first for the BMW Group and will be rolled out in other press shops around the company’s global network of manufacturing plant.

The new press is made up of six individual stations which can produce up to 18 parts per minute – more than twice the capacity of the previous press line. The time taken swapping the pressing tools is significantly reduced too, from at least 30 mins, to a little over three minutes. The pressure which the new press can apply is 2,500 tonnes or equivalent to the weight of 20 blue whales.

The construction of the new building started in June 2019, after the demolition and the clearing of ‘A’ Building on the Swindon site. During the construction of the 36m wide, 210m long, 25m high building, the team managed the challenge of the COVID-19 restrictions.

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The building has numerous environmental features including water harvesting from the roof to provide water to all non-drinking water supplies. There is also a system which uses the heat from the press hydraulics to heat the main hall. This along with smaller touches such as LED lighting and the long glass roof windows running down the centre of the building have a significant impact, creating a light bright working environment, reducing the reliance on artificial light and contribute significantly to achieving energy saving and sustainability targets.

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