The number of factory tour videos available online is incredible. I recently stumbled upon this one, which might be a new favorite. It's a tour of the BMW i3 factory in Germany, and it's fantastic. I've included some highlights below, for your convenience:
- 2:51 - use of a 5-axis Waterjet for cutting holes in carbon fiber. I never thought I'd see a Waterjet used in a factory setting like this.
- 9:38 - spot welding of bolts, which are fed through tubing, onto the chassis.
- 14:47 - tidying up the motor stator wires with some automated cable lacing, which is typically used instead of cable ties and other methods that leave obstructions along the cable.
- 17:25 - using a hammering tool for engraving part numbers.
- 18:00 - some fast vacuum forming.
- 18:48 - neat tooling for pressing parts together.
- 19:24 - absolutely incredible shot of tooling spreading apart to release a part.
- 19:48 - a nice milling shot with vacuum fixturing. All those air lines hold onto the parts as they’re milled, and then release once an operator can remove them.
- 21:58 - the operator uses a bone folder to help seat leather sections into some tooling. I highly recommend bone folders - A+ useful tool.
- 24:32 - this shot really shows the amount of tooling involved in making these things. The back arm is holding that giant tool inside the chassis to cure adhesive - it carefully retracts at 25:03.
- 27:44 - the application of a protective coating of some sort, followed by heating with open flames to cure it. All this is done by robotic arms, of course.
- 28:34 - painting begins!
- 32:43 - notice the complexity of jigs required to install part of the doors, and the individual e-stop buttons on them. Important!
- 36:36 - elsewhere, the chassis is being assembled. Look at the size of those connectors!
- 39:05 - an interface for the line, which gives the operator a glance at the status of vehicles as they move.
Share your favorite factory tour in the comments!