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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: $100 Million Investment

Oct 03, 2022 11:06AM ● By David Dykes

BMW Manufacturing Opens New Logistics Center

(Photo Credit – Steve Fincher)

BMW Manufacturing officially opened its new logistics center on Freeman Farm Road in Greer, revealing what company officials said is a more efficient, sustainable, and digital operation.

The new Logistics Center for X models, called LCX, is nearly one million square feet in size and was built by Becknell Industrial. Total investment in the project is approximately $100 million.

“This new facility allows us to consolidate two warehouses and their material into one building, making our processes faster, leaner, and more efficient,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing.

“Beyond this, the new logistics center incorporates elements of the BMW iFACTORY strategy, which defines the future of automotive manufacturing for the BMW Group production network. This building can be expanded, if needed, to accommodate future models.”  

BMW officials said a unique feature of the logistics center is that it is divided in the middle by a fence, separating the new Container Freight Station from BMW’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

Parts and goods, both duty-paid and duty-unpaid, enter the warehouse on one side to be separated. The duty-paid material is cross-docked and travels by truck to BMW’s Consolidated Services operations at the Inland Port in Greer.

Only the duty-unpaid, BMW Manufacturing-owned parts are allowed to enter the Foreign Trade Zone. Those FTZ parts are either stored on racks temporarily in the warehouse or go directly to the BMW plant to be used in production.

Yard trucks, called hostlers, carry these parts across two newly constructed, private bridges built by United Infrastructure Group. The bridges cross over Freeman Farm Road and Interstate 85 to give quick access to the BMW plant.

The bridge crossing over I-85 is one of the longest free-spanning bridges in the state.

During the LCX opening, BMW introduced its strategy of using autonomous hostlers as part of the logistics process.

In a video demonstration, BMW showed a driverless hostler and trailer leaving the LCX building, traveling across both private bridges, and delivering parts to a building on the plant site.

Company officials said when BMW launches its autonomous logistics program in the future, it will eventually use 5G wireless technology on the Plant Spartanburg site, enabling real-time connectivity between machinery and equipment.

To complement the autonomous hostler, the LCX building is equipped with “smart” dock doors. The truck communicates with the door once it has arrived, and the door opens automatically.

Plant Spartanburg already incorporates the use of autonomous logistics in other areas of production. In the body shop, there are Smart Transport Robots, or STRs.

The flat, autonomous mobile robots can transport parts weighing as much as one ton to their destination. In assembly, logistics is also testing a driverless route train that delivers parts to areas in the X3/X4 assembly hall.

Company officials said Plant Spartanburg follows the BMW Group philosophy of promoting sustainability in all areas. This was important in the building’s design and use of equipment.

The new logistics center structure is “solar ready,” meaning it supports the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the future.

Forklifts inside the building will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, the same technology that powers electric vehicles.

In a pilot program, BMW used technology from CarbonCure that injected recycled CO2 into a portion of the fresh concrete during the mixing process. The concrete was then used in a section of the LCX building. This reduces CO2 emissions and does not compromise the concrete’s strength.

The BMW Group aims to reduce carbon emissions in production by 80 percent by 2030.

Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day and 433,810 vehicles in 2021, a record. 

The plant exports nearly 60 percent of its vehicles to about 120 global markets.

For eight consecutive years, it has been the largest exporter by value in the United States. The model portfolio includes five top-selling BMW X models, four Motorsport X models, and two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle X models.

The all-new BMW XM, the first electrified high-performance hybrid model in the BMW M portfolio, will begin production in late 2022. The factory has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.

U.S. DOE Extends Fluor-led Savannah River Site Management, Operating Contract through Sept. 2027

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) announced Sept. 29, 2022, that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has extended the Fluor-led Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC (SRNS) management and operating contract at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. 

The extension includes four years with an additional one-year option. The total reimbursable contract value is $12 billion for five years, and Fluor will book its four-year, $4.5 billion portion in the third quarter.

SRNS will continue uninterrupted management and operations activities at the site.

“This extension represents the DOE’s confidence in our performance to help safeguard our nation’s security and deliver on the important mission at the site,” said Tom D’Agostino, group president of Fluor’s Mission Solutions business. 

“We are continually improving efficiencies to accelerate program objectives and lower costs while also delivering capital projects of every scale. Our success is the result of a constant focus on the safety and security of our workers and protecting the surrounding communities and the environment."

Work performed at the Savannah River Site includes environmental management and the cleanup of legacy materials, facilities and waste remaining from the Cold War.

The site also supports and maintains the nuclear weapons stockpile as well as processing and storing nuclear materials in support of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

Fluor had revenue of $12.4 billion in 2021 and is ranked 259 among the Fortune 500 companies. With headquarters in Irving, Texas, Fluor has provided engineering, procurement and construction services for more than 110 years.

Winar Connection, Inc. Establishing Operations in Spartanburg County

 Winar Connection, Inc., a manufacturer of custom cable products, announced plans to establish operations in Spartanburg County.

The company’s $5 million investment will create 50 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

For 40 years, Winar Connection has manufactured custom cable battery and power cables. The company has an extensive portfolio of custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses, wire leads and more.   

Located at 2525 Chesnee Highway in Spartanburg, Winar Connection’s new facility will accommodate additional production capacity and growth due to increased demand, Commerce officials said.

Operations are expected to be online in November 2022. Those interested in joining Winar Connection should email resumes to the company.

Responsive Industries Establishing Operations in Greenville County

Responsive Industries, a leading manufacturer of vinyl flooring, announced plans to establish operations in Greenville County.

The company’s $10 million investment will create 10 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Headquartered in India, Responsive Industries is a manufacturer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products, specializing in luxury vinyl plank, sheet vinyl and vinyl tile. The company also offers an extensive portfolio of wood and stone selections designed for offices, retail space, residential areas and more.     

Located at 360 Old Laurens Road in the Access Point Industrial Park in Mauldin, Responsive Industries’ new operation in Greenville County will serve as a distribution center.

The facility will manage all facets of the company’s operations in the United States including logistics, sales, technical services and after-sales service.

Those interested in joining Responsive Industries should go to the company’s contact page.

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