The BMW Group is tapping into the enormous potential for highly efficient planning of future plant structures and production facilities by capturing digital scans of every one of its vehicle plants worldwide.
“This opens up entirely new possibilities for us to implement both extensive new planning and smaller-scale remodelling of existing structures in a highly efficient, precise and flexible manner,” says Michele Melchiorre, head of Production System, Planning, Tool Shop, Plant Construction at the BMW Group.
Virtual planning is a core element of digitalisation within the strategic vision of BMW production: the BMW iFACTORY. The aim is to make planning and simulation of all processes and the entire production system 100% virtual. Virtualisation takes planning for all processes to a new level, by enabling collaboration in real time between different locations and across different time zones.
“Production planning can integrate the virtual product into the virtual factory at an early stage. This reduces planning effort and capital expenditure and, at the same time, ensures processes are more efficient and more stable during ramp-up,” explains Melchiorre.
“We are entering a new dimension of factory planning,” adds Melchiorre. “This means planners can conduct a virtual walk-through of BMW Group plants at any time, from anywhere. They can develop production systems together in the simulated world, compare best practices and share information quickly and easily within the network.”
The BMW Group is digitalising its existing facilities with mobile 3D laser scanners which will be used to create highly accurate photorealistic panoramic images, floor plans and scatter plots for all BMW Group vehicle plants, including building structures, facilities, and outdoor areas.
Since November 2020, around four million square metres of indoor space and nine million square metres of outdoor space at BMW Group plants have already been scanned using portable mobile scanning systems and drone systems.
Around 15,000 BMW employees are already working with this data. With the help of this software, existing plants can be virtually inspected, specific points in production found via points of interest (POIs) and highly precise measurements carried out.
The system also allows individual sections of the 3D scans to be cut out and made available to external suppliers. This saves time and effort during production planning, improves collaboration with internal and external interfaces and eliminates planning errors.
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