BMW has formally opened a new automated steel pressing facility at the company’s Swindon plant in UK. The new press will produce steel panels for the MINI plant in Oxford at twice the rate of the old equipment which it replaces, with the steel blanks and finished panels handled by a new fleet of Automatic Guided Vehicles. The use of AGVs throughout the process has streamlined logistics considerably, in particular with the use of a giant AGV which can transport up to six tonnes of material.The new press is made up of six individual stations which can produce up to 18 parts per minute, more than twice the capacity of the previous press line. The time taken swap the pressing tools are significantly reduced too, from at least 30 minutes, to a little over three minutes. The pressure which the new press can apply is 2,500 tonnes or equivalent to the weight of 20 blue whales.The construction of the new building started in June 2019, after the demolition and the clearing of ‘A' Building on the Swindon site. During the construction of the 36m wide, 210m long, 25m high building, the team has managed the challenge of the COVID-19 restrictions and an enforced four-week shutdown during the first lockdown.The site currently produces for both BMW and MINI models and has a long history with the first body shells leaving the site in 1955.This is a technological first for the BMW Group and is will be rolled out in other press shops around the company’s global network of manufacturing plant. In total, 23 new AGVs have been commissioned in the new facilities, with more planned over the next few years.