High Demand Prompts BMW to Order 2 More Engel Molding Machines For i3 Body

8 months ago by Eric Loveday 15

ENGEL Molding Machines For BMW i3

ENGEL Molding Machines For BMW i3

Demand for the BMW i3 is higher than BMW had anticipated.  This has convinced the German automaker to order two additional ENGEL molding machines for the i3 body shell components.

BMW i3

BMW i3

This doesn’t imply that production of the i3 will exceed BMW’s previous annual capacity announcement of 30,000 units, but rather shows us that BMW wasn’t exactly sure if demand for the i3 would be soft or inline with its production capacity.

Now that BMW knows there’s ample demand for the i3, it’s readying for production to get kicked up to that 30,000-unit annual target.

Here’s the press release from ENGEL on BMW’s ordering of two more body molding machines.  It’s worth mentioning that machines such as this typically take months to be built and put in place, so don’t expect i3 production to magically increase anytime soon.

ENGEL AUSTRIA has won another contract to supply system solutions to BMW’s Leipzig factory, where ENGEL duo injection moulding machines are used to manufacture car body shell components for the BMW i3 electric vehicle.

The latest order includes two large-scale ENGEL duo machines with 40,000 kN clamping force integrated as a double system. In master/slave mode, both machines can be synchronised to injection mould and complete two components at the same time. This manufacturing principle makes sure that both components undergo exactly the same material aging process and that the high quality requirements are met.

As the general contractor for the manufacturing cells, ENGEL has taken responsibility for incorporating automation into the entire system. Both machines are fitted with a multi-axis robot. ENGEL delivered the first manufacturing cells of this type to Leipzig back in March 2013.

ENGEL AUSTRIA is a leading supplier of lightweight solutions for the international automotive industry. At its technology centre for lightweight composites, which opened in 2012 in St Valentin, Austria, ENGEL develops new technologies and processes for the manufacture of fibre-reinforced composite material in conjunction with partner companies and universities. With its system and automation expertise, ENGEL adds an important success factor for highly efficient production concepts to the world of composites, which is still heavily dominated by manual methods.

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15 responses to "High Demand Prompts BMW to Order 2 More Engel Molding Machines For i3 Body"

  1. David Murray says:

    I keep hearing some people say there is no demand for this car, others saying the opposite.. So which is it?

    1. Spec9 says:

      Who knows? Stories like this may just be marketing spin to paint it as successful.

      I sure hope it is successful.

      And imagine how successful it will be when they make a car with a popular body design.

      1. bmw i3 fan says:

        Demand for the i3 is very strong – BMW producing 70/day right now (18,500 annualized) and it is outselling Tesla (http://ev-sales.blogspot.com/).

        They launch shortly in the US and supposedly demand is sold out. I think the car is going to sell really well personally – it’s 50% of the cost of a Tesla but with the REx option you basically have the same range. Plus the interior is much nicer and it has a lot of features you’d expect from a luxury auto maker (autonomous parallel parking, etc) that Tesla doesn’t have.

  2. vadik_veselovsky says:

    we will all know by the end of the year looking at the sales numbers

  3. Ocean Railroader says:

    If the bulk of the production of this car depends on the existing two to three machines that they have it would make logical sense to add two more machines to have good back ups. Also from what this story sounds like is that the other existing machines they are using are extremely big and complex so they could break down a lot.

    Over all I think they are getting two back ups in case they do have high demand or existing demand and can’t afford to stop production.

  4. ffbj says:

    The difference between what they hoped for and what they expected, coming much closer to the former. I don’t think they would buying 2 more machines unless they needed them.

  5. ffbj says:

    And as Ocean Railroader pointed out, and also not bad to have an extra in hand just if you want to have one down for routine maintenance.

  6. Bloggin says:

    The i3 is climbing up the sales charts in Europe.

    But BMW may want to wait until the e-Golf is launched before expanding. The new e-Up! is already overtaking the Renault EV and charging up to the top.

    1. beben says:

      are you shure ? the renault zoe is now sold in scandinavia, norway and co, i am shure renault zoe sales will grow in the next months after new renault decisions:new cable, new prices, new options, wallbox and cable included etc

  7. Bonaire says:

    Two more machines is no laughing matter.

  8. Spec9 says:

    Wasn’t BMW planning to start using CRFP in their mainline cars as well? Perhaps they are going to start making body panels for those other cars?

  9. lzl says:

    Wait I thought the CFRP panels were made in the States?

  10. Martin T says:

    The East German Fathers of the Trabant (Plastic 2 stoke car) would be smiling now the West has a modern EV plastic hi-tech car.

    :-)

  11. How much of the expansion order will be for adding production capability for the i8 in addition to the i3? Part of order is likely just part of the ramp up strategy as production is stabilized at lower volumes before scaling to full production scale.

    The i-vehicles involve new production processes for BMW. The fact that production line is expanding indicates that BMW is satisfied with production quality of parts and meeting internal goals. All good signs.