From press shop to validation: BMW Group Plant Munich builds on artificial intelligence and smart use of data

BMW Group Plant Munich is making increasing use of applications with artificial intelligence (AI). AI is fast, reliable and easy to integrate into the various production processes and, coupled with smart data analytics and cutting-edge measurement technologies, it opens up new opportunities for more efficient vehicle production.

Robert Engelhorn, Director of BMW Group Plant Munich, is working to advance the application of these technologies: “At Plant Munich, it takes about 30 hours to manufacture a vehicle. During that time, each car we make generates massive amounts of data. With the help of artificial intelligence and smart data analytics, we can use this data to manage and analyse our production intelligently. AI is helping us to streamline our manufacturing even further and ensure premium quality for every customer. It also saves our employees from having to do monotonous, repetitive tasks.” As with any innovation, the key factor is effectiveness: “Our team in production are highly experienced specialists, so they are the best judges of whether an AI application can boost quality and efficiency at any given stage of production,” says Robert Engelhorn.

The options for using AI and smart data analytics are currently being tested in various areas of BMW Group Plant Munich. In some areas, the technologies are already in use in series production, such as the press shop and function validation.

Smart Data and AI in the press shop

The press shop at the BMW Group’s home plant in Munich turns more than 30,000 blanks a day into vehicle body parts. Since 2019 each blank has been given a laser code at the start of production so the body part can be clearly identified throughout. This code is picked up by the iQ Press system, which records material and process parameters – such as the thickness of the metal and oil layer, and the temperature and speed of the presses. The parameters are then related to the quality of the parts produced.

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Uploaded to the cloud in real time, the data is immediately available in its entirety for the production team to gain a clearer picture of the manufacturing process. iQ Press data is an important tool for them, as it eliminates the need for each body part to be checked in minute detail, in quality control for example, and picks out only irregularities that require action.

Artificial intelligence also offers potential to identify recurring patterns in a process, based on the data collected, to support continuous optimisation. So, as well as improving the efficiency of production systems, iQ Press helps to further increase hourly output from the press shop.

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