Customer application
BMW Production Hall: New Lighting Standard Replaces Old Lighting

WAGO’s newly developed lighting concept reduces the power consumed by lights within BMW’s production facilities by more than a quarter.

For decades, BMW has been a household name among car and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, and now the same holds true for building and automation engineering experts. The former associate the brand with innovative motors and vehicles, while the latter is impressed by the new lighting control system, which lowers the energy costs of this established Munich-based company by around 30 percent. BMW is gradually expanding this lighting solution, which is based on WAGO components, to make it a company-wide standard as part of its sustainability strategy.

Environmentally responsible action is only really effective when both sides of the coin are taken into account: the product itself, and its entire development process. BMW gives very high priority to ecological and social issues; the company has been a permanent member of the “Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index” since 1999. And to ensure that it will also remain on the stock index for companies exercising sustainable business practices in the future, the Munich-based company is continuously working on programs for active energy optimization.

BMW Production Facilities

  • Building Lighting under Scrutiny
  • A User-Friendly and Area-Oriented Concept
  • Automated and Integrated Workflows

Building Lighting under Scrutiny

One such measure also carefully scrutinizes the existing lighting technology in the production facilities, even though substantial optimization had already been achieved in this sector using a new central control system. This included, among other improvements, switching off the main lighting in the production facilities during idle times. Furthermore, BMW was already taking advantage of the possibility of switching off individual phases in the three-phase current bars as needed. However, without additional technical changes to the installed current bars with traditional control gears, the savings potential was soon exhausted.

A quick glance at the lighting plan from that time demonstrated to management how far from ideal the system was – all lights had indeed been planned based on the reduction in luminosity that occurs as lights age, but, because the expenses for frequent manual adjustment would have been too high, and the technology necessary for automatic adjustment had not yet been developed, the lights were installed from the beginning with significantly over-designed luminosity. This was the only means of ensuring that the lighting intensity required by the pertinent standards would still be achieved at the predefined time for maintenance. This concept inevitably resulted in inefficient lighting, as energy consumption was unnecessarily high.

A User-Friendly and Area-Oriented Concept

The next logical step, after upgrading the central control system, was to modernize the hardware at the automation level. In fact, this required a solution that could both be installed in newly constructed production facilities that are equipped in the field with DALI and EnOcean, and also retrofitted to projects that retained the existing conventional technology. The fact that the two technologies – both old and new – could be easily combined was one reason that Jörg Tratzl, the electrical systems designer in charge, ultimately decided on components from WAGO. Another reason: the exceptionally user-friendling handling that WAGO developed for BMW for control of operating devices for lighting technology.


The new lighting distribution system not only boasts up-to-date technology, it also puts a special focus on the needs of the end customer. In contrast to the lighting distribution systems used previously, with this system, the electrical installation specialist does not have to perform any complicated programming during commissioning or during everyday work. Instead, the area-oriented software can be adapted to individual needs using only the parameter settings – made in the graphical user interface of any Internet browser. This saves time while eliminating the need for additional expertise, which significantly reduces both energy costs and the expenses associated with engineering. The basis of this system is WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750’s ETHERNET Controllers, which are installed in control cabinets in the production facilities with I/O modules for DALI and EnOcean, as well as standard analog/digital inputs and outputs. From there, they control each and every control gear.

This allows the lighting to be automatically dimmed based on a lighting schedule. This achieved the first noticeable savings on energy costs – while simultaneously meeting the stringent operating standards. DALI provides additional advantages: For example, instead of having to activate entire circuits, short addresses are used to control each individual light. The individual targeting this achieves allows the short addresses to be assembled into groups. Thus, virtual rooms can be depicted on the display using WAGO’s Web visualization, and – just like physical rooms – can be regulated autonomously. For BMW’s production facilities, this means that lighting can be adapted to structural modifications or building repurposing with only a few clicks of the mouse.

750 Series Ethernet Controllers:

  • Controllers for all prominent fieldbus systems

  • Expandable with the comprehensive WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 product range

  • Extensive IT integration possibilities

Automated and Integrated Workflows

The lighting distribution boards standardized by BMW have proven themselves in more than 100 installations at a wide range of locations within this group of companies. Simple configuration of the WAGO controller via Internet browser has reduced the commissioning time for each lighting distribution board from several days to only a few seconds. Relays can be installed or removed with just a few manual operations using pluggable sockets. “This, of course, also reduces costs during ongoing operations, as maintenance can be performed much more quickly,” explains Jörg Tratzl.

Replacement of the hardware is, however, the only activity that still needs to be performed manually at BMW, stresses the electrical systems designer. “Since the WAGO ETHERNET Controllers communicate directly with the plant management software, we have been able to perfect this workflow: The exact position of defective lighting is reported, operating hours counters are reset after replacement of the components, and the brightness levels are adjusted automatically.”


  • More than 30 % reduction of lighting energy
  • Commissioning and adjustment without any programming
  • Parameterization via Internet browser saves time and requires no additional expertise

By Jürgen Pfeifer | 2013-03-19

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