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Published: 30 May 2017

State-of-the-art BMW MINI plant opens doors to Automotive Engineering students

Automotive Engineering students got the chance to experience the inner workings of one of the most advanced car facilities in the world when they visited the BMW MINI plant in Oxford.

On their exclusive tour on 22 May, the group of second year Automotive Engineering students saw how the new generation MINI – which has up to 3,600 components – comes together. During the two and a half hour tour they visited the ‘body-in-white’ bodyshop, which is nearly totally automated, as well as the final assembly line.

With a new MINI driving off the production line every 68 seconds, and over 15 trillion different combinations available, experiencing the highly complex production process live was a fascinating opportunity for students. The bodyshop has 1,000 robots which apply up to 6,000 welding points to each new generation MINI model. Every MINI is then checked by Perceptron cameras which are accurate to within half the width of a human hair.

The exclusive tour enabled students to gain a unique insight into the automotive production process behind the iconic car, and to pose questions on their specific areas of interest to a MINI expert.

Student Finn Macpherson said: “The trip helped us learn more about Automotive Engineering on an industry scale which we had never seen before. To see the theory we have learnt on the course being used and applied in the real world gave us an insight into the importance we, as automotive engineers, will have on shaping the automotive industry in the future.”

Dr Patrick Gruber, Automotive Engineering Programme Leader, commented: “This visit was a great way to learn more about the modern car industry outside the classroom. In particular, our students gained an overview of the complexity and challenges involved in the mass-production of high quality vehicles. Also, the visit highlighted the importance of considering every detail of a product so that it can realistically be made in the shortest time possible.”

Surrey’s Automotive Engineering degree programmes focus on different aspects of the design and development of modern and next-generation vehicles, and provide hands-on experience through participation in Formula Student, the world’s largest student motorsport competition.

Why not explore our programmes in Mechanical Engineering Sciences, including our BEng and MEng Automotive Engineering degrees.