The BMW Group has announced a new virtual production practice conducted as part of a new partnership with Nvidia.
At a conference held by the electronics company, the OEM revealed that it had constructed a digital replica of its forthcoming plant in Debrecen, Germany and will use this virtual plant to support the production of its future EVs built on the Neue Klasse platform.
In carrying out this digital-first approach to vehicle production, the Group is leveraging Nvidia Omniverse Enterprise – a platform designed for building and operating 3D industrial metaverse applications. Within Omniverse, BMW will run a variety of real-time digital twin simulations aimed at virtually optimizing layouts, robotics, and logistics systems ahead of the Debrecen plant’s opening in 2025. Following its role in the Debrecen plant, BMW is planning to extend the reach of the platform across its global product network.
In a joint demo at the Nvidia event, BMW showcased a virtual planning session for the Debrecen plant’s new body shop. For the automaker, this virtual planning approach is now considered a blueprint for all of its future planning processes. Here, it praised the platform’s ability to enhance collaboration across sites and time zones, as well as its support in the planning and design of structures, production systems and processes.
Nvidia Omniverse will allow BMW’s production staff to use live data both in-house and with suppliers for the planning and optimization of processes and individual systems. Structure and facility data, for example, will be easier to retrieve and integrate with equipment and assembly line data – while future items and part numbers for production materials will also be available.
The platform further allows for layout options, such as for robots in work cells or in various areas of logistics, can be demonstrated through real-time photorealistic simulations, and adapted as required. Any modifications within Omniverse are likewise evaluated, validated, and implemented in real-time. BMW has said that its suppliers will also benefit from Omniverse, which it says will increase their involvement in decision making through the integration of its key design and planning tools.
Over time BMW’s relevant product, process, quality, and cost data will gradually be made available in Omniverse alongside the OEM’s development, planning and production processes. Further developments to the platform will include updates that add support for a wider variety of production areas, such as the consumption of energy and resources.
In addition to these physical manufacturing operations, BMW will also utilize the Omniverse platform to support its digital operations. Here, the platform will quickly localize operational faults – preventing longer production downtimes. Integrating Omniverse into these operations will provide further support for BMW as it works to integrate and automate the virtual commissioning of new systems into a continuous planning process.