BMW uses Nvidia’s Omniverse to build state-of-the-art factories

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BMW has standardized itself on a new technology unveiled by Nvidia, the Omniverse, to simulate all aspects of its manufacturing operations, in an effort to push the boundaries of smart manufacturing.

BMW reduced that to ordering instructions for workers at 31 factories in its production network, reducing production planning time by 30%, the company said.

At Nvidia’s GTC conference in November 2021, members of BMW’s digital solutions for production planning and data management for virtual factories provided an update on BMW and Nvidia’s progress in simulating operations manufacturing process based on digital twins. Their presentation, BMW and Omniverse in Production, offers a detailed tour of how the Regensburg plant has a fully functional real-time digital twin capable of simulating large-scale production and finite planning under constraints. all the way to ordering instructions and robotic programming on the store floor.

Improving product quality, reducing manufacturing costs and unplanned downtime while increasing production and ensuring worker safety are goals that all manufacturers strive to achieve, but rarely achieve. coherently. Achieving these goals depends much more on the fluidity and fluidity of real-time data from production and process monitoring, product definition, and shop floor planning, which are shared across the entire production in an understandable format that each team can use.

Overcoming the challenges of achieving these goals prompts manufacturers to embrace analytics, AI, and digital twin technologies. At the heart of these challenges is the need to accurately decipher the massive amount of data that manufacturing operations generate on a daily basis. Getting the most from the data generated daily by a given manufacturing operation is the essence of smart manufacturing.

Define what a factory of the future is

McKinsey and the World Economic Forum (WEF) are studying what sets exceptional factories apart from all others. Their initial collaborative research and many subsequent research studies, including the creation of the Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production platform, reflect how productive the collaborative efforts of McKinsey and WEF are today. In addition, McKinsey and WEF have set high standards in their definition of what a factory of the future is, as they provide ongoing analysis of the operations of the selected group of manufacturers for customers.

According to McKinsey and WEF, headlight manufacturers are turning pilots into large-scale integrated production. They are also known for their scalable technology platforms, strong change management performance, and adaptability to changing supply chain, market and customer constraints, while maintaining visibility and cost control. throughout the manufacturing process. BMW Automotive is an inaugural member of the flagship manufacturing companies that McKinsey and WEF first identified after evaluating more than 1,000 companies. The following chart from McKinsey and WEF research provides a geographic view of the locations of flagship manufacturers’ factories around the world.

Above: McKinsey and WEF’s continued collaboration provides new insight into how manufacturers can continue to adopt new technologies to improve operations, add greater visibility and control in the shop floor, and control costs . Source: McKinsey and Company, Lighthouse makers are leading the way: Can the rest of the world keep pace?

BMW factory plan of the future

The four sessions that BMW contributed to at Nvidia’s GTC conference in November 2021 together provide a blueprint for how BMW is transforming its production centers into factories of the future. The heart of their plan is to secure appropriate back-end integration services, including real-time integration with ProjectWise, internal BMW Prisma and MAPP systems, and Tecnomatix eMS. BMW relies on Omniverse connectors that support live synchronization with each application on the front-end of their technology stacks. Front-end applications include numerous 2D and 3D computer aided designs (CAD), real-time visualization, product lifecycle management (PLM) and advanced imaging tools. BMW has standardized on Nvidia Omniverse as a centralized platform to integrate the various large-scale back-end and front-end systems so that their technology stack can evolve and support analytics, AI and data. simulations of digital twins in 31 manufacturing plants.

Excel at customizing models in real time

How BMW Deployed Nvidia Omniverse explains why they succeed with their Factory of the Future initiatives while others fail. BMW recognized early on that the different clock speeds or rates of each system that is an integral part of production, from CAD and PLM to ERP, MES, quality management and CRM, had to be synchronized. around a single data source that everyone could understand. Nvidia Omniverse acts as a data orchestrator and provides information that each service can interpret and use. “Global teams can collaborate using different software packages to design and plan the plant in real time, using the ability to operate in perfect simulation, which is revolutionizing BMW’s planning processes,” says Milan Nedeljković, member of the board of directors of BMW AG. .

Product customizations dominate the sales and production of BMW products. They currently produce 2.5 million vehicles per year, and 99% of them are custom. BMW says each production line can be quickly set up to produce one of ten different cars, each with up to 100 or more options across ten models, giving customers up to 2,100 ways to set up a BMW. In addition, Nvidia Omniverse gives BMW the ability to quickly reconfigure its factories to accommodate the launches of new large models.

Simulate line improvements to save time

BMW is succeeding in its product customization strategy because every system essential to production is synchronized on the Nvidia Omniverse platform. Thus, each customization step of a given model reflects the customer’s requirements and is also shared in real time with each production team. In addition, BMW says real-time production monitoring data is used to compare the performance of the digital twins. With the digital twins of an entire factory, BMW engineers can quickly identify where and how the production sequence of each specific model can be improved. One example is how BMW is using digital humans and simulation to test new workflows for worker ergonomics and efficiency, training digital humans with data from real associates. They also do the same with the robotics they have in place in factories today. Combining real-time production and process monitoring data with simulated results helps BMW engineers quickly identify areas for improvement, so that production quality, cost and efficiency goals continue to grow. ‘to be achieved.

BMW first simulates robotics improvements using Nvidia's Omniverse before feeding them into production runs to ensure greater accuracy, product quality and cost targets.

Above: BMW first simulates robotics improvements using Nvidia’s Omniverse before feeding them into production runs to ensure greater accuracy, product quality and cost targets.

For a manufacturer to be successful with a complex product customization strategy like that of BMW, all of the systems on which manufacturing relies must be synchronized with each other in real time. There needs to be a common cadence at which the systems operate, providing real-time data and information that each team can use to do their specific job. BMW achieves this today, allowing it to plan down to the configuration level model by model to scale. They are also able to test each model setup in a fully functional digital twin environment in Nvidia’s Omniverse, and then reconfigure the production lines to produce the new models. Real-time production and process monitoring data from existing production lines and digital twins help BMW’s engineering and production planning teams know where, how and why to modify the digital twins to test completely any new improvement before putting it into production.


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