Trip to the Mini Plant in Oxford
Design Technology and Business students from Years 10-13 visited the Mini Plant in Oxford on Tuesday 17 January to experience the industrial manufacture and assembly of the BMW Mini.
This was a really informative and awe-inspiring trip which never fails to amaze the students who come along. They were able to witness the organisation of a production line including the vast array of robots which undertake the role of sub assembly of parts and the quality control required to maintain such a highly efficient plant.
Following a tour of the ‘Body in white’ where there are 1000 robots, students gained a real insight into ‘Just in time’ production where 1 Mini is completed every 54 seconds to a customer specification. Perceptron cameras inspect the work at key points of the build and are accurate to half the width of a human hair. At the final assembly plant we saw the Mini’s take shape with the fitting of the cockpit, front end and electrical wiring harness. An engine marriage, some wheels, fluid fill and door fitting leads to the finished Mini as we watched them drive off for final checks.
Students were enthused to hear of the Sustainability policies and how they sourced raw materials. The combination of a capital intensive yet labour-intensive approach fascinated the students, as did the production line itself. The vibrant environment offered students a first-hand opportunity to experience UK Manufacturing on their doorstep whilst learning key operational management terminology to support their GCSE Business GCSE progress.
It was a really successful trip, and everyone wanted to drive a mini home at the end of the tour, but we had to catch the coach back to school….