How BMW Utilise Composites to Manufacture Its New 7 Series

Using the very latest technologies in lightweight materials, powertrains, chassis, operating systems and intelligent connectivity underline its mission to bring together driving pleasure and long-distance comfort in a luxury sedan.

The interior of the new 7 series offers lots of space and with the optional executive lounge, the passenger’s comfort is redefined further, featuring electrically adjustable seats with massage functions, active ventilation and a rear console and entertainment system with BMW’s touch command. The Long-wheelbase versions will also feature a sky lounge panorama glass roof that will mimic a starry sky thanks to side-mounted LED modules.

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The cars new iDrive system, for the first time features a touch screen display, allowing for easier more intuitive control, adding to that is the new gesture support which also allows hand movements to be recognised by a 3D sensor. These new gestures will allow you to control a number of different functions like audio volume and being able to accept or reject phone calls.

BMW EfficientLightweight helps to reduce the weight of the new BMW 7 Series models by up to 130 kilograms compared to their previous-generation counterparts. At the centre of it all is the body structure with Carbon Core, a product of the transfer of technology from the development of BMW i cars. The new BMW 7 Series is the first car in its segment in which industrially manufactured carbon fibre reinforced plastic combines with steel and aluminium. The intelligent body concept uses this mixed-materials approach to increase the strength and rigidity of the passenger cell while at the same time significantly reducing vehicle weight.

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Carbon fibre is used for the roof bows, to reinforce the roof frame, the B and C pillars, the sills, the centre tunnel and for the rear shelf. The company benefits from the knowhow gained from development and production of its BMW i models. For the first time, the BMW Group is using two enhanced, innovative and highly efficient processes in production of the BMW 7 Series in Dingolfing: wet pressing and hybrid pressing.

[quote_colored name=”” icon_quote=”no”]The structures and new manufacturing technologies for lightweight construction and electrification we established for the BMW 7 Series ramp-up will also benefit other models[/quote_colored]

In wet pressing, carbon-fibre fabrics or netting, impregnated with resin, are pressed in a three-dimensional moulding die while wet and then hardened. The dry pre-shaping previously used in the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process is no longer required. In hybrid pressing, carbon-fibre fabrics impregnated with resin, also still wet, are placed in a moulding die with sheet steel, then pressed and hardened. This bonds the steel and carbon materials to form a hybrid component. Hybrid components are light, but offer maximum rigidity and outstanding crash performance. Both processes enable highly economical large-scale production of up to several thousand carbon components per day, with compact systems engineering and short cycle times.

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