Benchmark in apprentice training: The BMW Group plant in Steyr is a model factory. It produces diesel and petrol engines as well as e-mobility components. State-of-the-art manufacturing and production facilities, the highest quality standards and excellently trained specialist staff guarantee success. The new training centre also fits in here without compromise. Among other things, 21 lathes and milling machines including simulation from the Austrian machine tool manufacturer Emco ensure the best possible training for apprentices. By Robert Fraunberger, x-technik

The German premium car manufacturer BMW has been producing diesel and petrol engines at the Group plant in Steyr for almost 45 years. In addition, BMW’s largest engine plant has also been increasingly producing e-mobility components for around five years. Over one million engines and more than ten million core components for engines leave the plant every year. They power around half of all BMW and Mini vehicles worldwide. From 2025 at the latest, the efficient drives will be produced using CO2-neutral energy – thanks to green electricity and district heating from biomass.

E-drive technology will also play an even greater role for the site in the future: This is because the next generation of electric drives will be produced here from 2025. The Steyr development site is also breaking new ground – a completely new high-performance electric drive is currently being developed.

Quality promise for drives

What unites all vehicle components from Steyr is BMW’s high quality promise for drives of all kinds. For the approximately 4,500 employees in production and development, their expertise and quality awareness guarantee the image and reliability of the premium vehicles. The BMW Group plant in Steyr is responsible for the production of the core engine components that are installed in other BMW plants.

BMW’s demands on performance, dynamics, comfort and smooth running are very high. This is why core parts such as crankcases, housings for the latest generation of electric drives, crankshafts, cylinder heads and connecting rods are manufactured at the BMW Group plant in Steyr. The machining accuracy is measured in micrometres. Accordingly, the manufacturing machines and production facilities are state of the art.

Apprentice training as the basis for quality >> Video

This is also the case in the newly built training centre, which is equipped with the latest technology. Not least because of the high quality standards and the constant growth in Steyr, BMW decided around two years ago not only to take apprentice training into its own hands, but also to raise it to the best possible level – an important investment in its own young talent.

At the BMW Group plant in Steyr, apprentices are trained in various technical professions, with machining technicians accounting for the largest proportion. A total of 21 lathes and milling machines – from conventional lathes to CNC lathes and CNC milling machines – including simulation equipment from Emco are available for the future machining technicians. “We have excellent premises with top machinery and can offer our current 60 or so apprentices optimum vocational training,” says apprentice trainer Thomas Sakuler. Himself a trained machining technician with a qualification as a master craftsman, he has more than 20 years of experience at BMW in a wide variety of departments and plants.

Thanks to the high-quality equipment, the apprentices can be optimally prepared for their future “BMW life”. This is because each apprentice is assigned their future specialist area during the training period. In addition to technical skills, training at BMW also aims to promote individual talent and flexibility. The strengths of the young trainees are particularly encouraged, but internal further training and a change to different departments are possible at any time by arrangement.

Emco as a training partner

Emco has many years of experience in the field of training machines, both in Austria and in international projects around the world. “Emco offers a wide range of turning and milling products for training, a high level of technical expertise and very fast response times,” says Christian Brötzner, the responsible Area Sales Manager at Emco. Over the years, this has resulted in excellent references in school, inter-company and in-company training as well as from industrial customers with their own training workshops.

“With production in the heart of Europe, a balanced price-performance ratio and standard industrial machine components – such as the Sinumerik ONE control system – Emco can offer a coherent concept ranging from conventional machine technology to CNC multitasking lathes and 5-axis machining centres,” continues Brötzner. BMW’s equipment also includes six training workstations with PCs and digital twins of the machines. “Various machining operations can be simulated and trained here specifically for CNC training,” says Brötzner, highlighting the modern possibilities of the new training centre.

Comprehensive support guaranteed

Emco attaches great importance to after-sales support. This is why the Austrian machine tool manufacturer guarantees all customers a direct contact person. In addition, an extensive stock of all necessary spare parts is kept at the headquarters in Hallein. “In my opinion, what also sets us apart from the market is our comprehensive service expertise. 14 experienced technicians on the free hotline and 30 service technicians throughout Austria guarantee fast response times and competent support for all our customers’ concerns,” emphasises the sales technician. Emco also offers a remote maintenance service if required, guaranteeing the best possible support for all commercial and technical issues.

Training centre with a wow effect

With the new training centre, BMW has set a benchmark in apprentice training. “When you enter our training centre, there is a wow effect for our young trainees. The machine park has everything that is technically possible. All in all, the best conditions for getting off to a flying start at BMW,” concludes Thomas Sakuler with great satisfaction.