OEM : Automotive
The special fascination of the BMW Group not only lies in its products and technology, but also in the company’s history, written by inventors, pioneers and brilliant designers. Today, the BMW Group, with its 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries as well as a global sales network, is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and motorcycles, and provider of premium financial and mobility services.
BMW Group Celebrates Opening the World's First Virtual Factory in NVIDIA Omniverse
🚙 Germany-based DeepDrive bags €15M to develop ‘revolutionary’ drive units for EVs
Munich-based DeepDrive, a high-tech company that claims to offer revolutionary drive units for electric vehicles, announced on Tuesday that it has raised €15M in a Series A round of funding. The round was co-led by top mobility investors BMW i Ventures and co-pace GmbH.
Realtime Robotics Now Supplier for BMW Group
Realtime Robotics, the leader in collision-free autonomous motion planning for industrial robots, today announced that it has been named an official supplier for the BMW Group.
AMPECO raises $16M in funding as revenue quadruples year-on-year
We are happy to announce that AMPECO has raised a total of $16M in venture capital investment after having closed a Series A funding round of $13M led by BMW i Ventures. The funding will be used to drive further expansion into North America with a local presence while growing AMPECO’s engineering and product innovation teams.
MacroFab Secures $42M in Growth Financing from Foundry, Edison Partners and BMW i Ventures
MacroFab, the cloud manufacturing platform for building electronics from prototype to high-scale production, with a network of more than 100 factories across North America, announced today $42M in new growth capital. The funding was led by Foundry and joined by BMW i Ventures, as well as existing investors Edison Partners and ATX Venture Partners. With this round of financing MacroFab has raised a total of $82M, enabling the company’s accelerated growth amid the ongoing transformation of global supply chains.
BMW tests 5G positioning with Vodafone and Nokia at Leipzig factory
Vodafone Germany has been busy with private networks for Industry 4.0. A new announcement, with Nokia, says the pair are testing high-accuracy indoor positioning (HAIP) services over a 5G ‘campus network’ (‘campus-netz’) at BMW’s factory in Leipzig, the car maker’s premier site for testing new edge 5G and AI capabilities. The technology is being used to locate machines, tools, cars, and spare parts at the site – with centimetre-level accuracy, in theory.
The new HAIP test project with BMW is intended to increase automation and quality of production at the German car maker’s Leipzig plant. It is focused specifically on two areas, measuring around 4,500 square metres, in the assembly hall and in the logistics centre, said Vodafone. BMW’s Leipzig plant is home to 5,300 employees and produces around 1,000 vehicles per day.
Fox Robotics Announces $20M Investment led by BMW i Ventures
Fox Robotics, the autonomous forklift company, announced today the close of a $20M oversubscribed funding round led by BMW i Ventures. Additional new investors include Zebra Technologies, Japan Airlines & Translink Innovation Fund, and Foothill Ventures. Existing investors Menlo Ventures, ENIAC Ventures, and SignalFire also participated in the round.
Fox is on a mission to deploy its forklifts across warehouses and production environments across the globe and develop new autonomous capabilities to expand use cases. It intends to use the new funds to ramp up production, invest in talent, and expand globally.
BMW plans to invest $1.7 billion in U.S. to produce electric vehicles
BMW Group plans to invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations to build electric vehicles and batteries, the company announced Wednesday. The investment will include $1 billion for production of EVs at BMW’s South Carolina plant, and $700 million for a new battery-assembly facility in the state. BMW also announced a deal to purchase battery cells from Japan-based Envision AESC, which will build a new battery cell factory in South Carolina.
BMW i Ventures Leads Series A Investment in Optical AI Technology Company, Alitheon
BMW i Ventures announced today their lead investment in a $10M Series A round for Alitheon, an Optical AI technology company. The company’s FeaturePrint® technology quickly and easily digitizes physical objects for irrefutable identification, authentication, and tracing, and eliminates misidentification and misuse of items. BMW i Ventures previously invested in the company’s seed round and is co-leading this round of investment alongside Imagine Ventures, a Seattle-based venture capital firm.
“The counterfeit crisis is a major cause of concern – not only for economic reasons, but even more as individual safety is concerned,” said Marcus Behrendt, Managing Partner at BMW i Ventures. “Alitheon’s cutting-edge technology and ability to bring trust and safety back to supply chains is groundbreaking. After participating in Alitheon’s Seed Funding, we’ve watched the growth of the team and the rising potential of its technology, and are excited to lead its Series A as they bring their product to market.”
ELISE Raises €14.5 million to scale Connected Engineering
We are incredibly proud to announce that we have closed our Series A financing round of €14.5 million! The investment is led by the renowned US Investor Spark Capital, with participation from BMW i Ventures, Cherry Ventures, UVC Partners, and Venture Stars. “This new investment will allow us to make significant progress towards our goal of becoming the low-code standard in engineering. The ease of use of our visual programming language enables engineers to model and automate development processes in the shortest possible time,” explained Moritz Maier, co-founder and CEO of ELISE. “With our open platform, we enable engineers to transfer the agile and efficient methods of software development to hardware development. This automates manual and repetitive tasks and enables companies to manage the growing complexity of product development in the face of increasing cost and innovation pressure.”
BMW Partners with Ansys to Engineer the Future of Autonomous Driving
BMWs to Drive Themselves During Production
BMW Group project manager Sascha Andree explained: “Automated driving within the plant is fundamentally different from autonomous driving for customers. It doesn’t use sensors in the vehicle. In fact, the car itself is more or less blind and the sensors for maneuvering them are integrated along the route through the plant.”
Initially, the vehicles will only move through the assembly area and then to a parking area, ready for their onward journey by train or truck. But in reality, it is possible to use the tech as soon as the cars are capable of driving independently in the production process.
NavVis Digital Factory Solution is a key building block for the production of the future
NavVis, one of the world’s leading providers of reality capture and digital factory solutions, is capturing BMW Group’s worldwide plants and making the photorealistic panoramic images, floor plans, and point cloud data available to all the car manufacturer’s sites via its web-based platform, NavVis IVION Enterprise. The Munich-based mobile scanning specialist NavVis is supporting the BMW Group in the digitalization of its production network with its Digital Factory Solution.
BMW Creates Fully Automated Production Lines for 3D Printed Car Parts
By utilizing systems made up of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) platforms, combined with AI and robotics, that it has developed, the IDAM consortium can print 50,000 series parts a year, as well as 10,000 new and individual parts. Opened in 2020, BMW’s campus at Oberschleißheim has 50 3D printers for both metal and plastics. Aside from investing in a variety of 3D printing startups, including Desktop Metal and Xometry, the company also employs HP MultiJet Fusion (MJF) and EOS machines, among other brands.
Driving Toward A Sustainable Future
A physics-based electronics reliability assessment tool, Sherlock enables Schirmer and his team at BMW to assess the performance of PCBs under a range of thermal cycles, including temperature changes and static temperatures. BMW can also test PCB components for shock, random vibration, and steady mechanical loads.
Given the growing demand for new EV designs and product features, the Department of Power Electronics is under pressure to complete its reliability studies quickly — but without compromising analytic depth and breadth. “With Ansys Sherlock, I’m able to manage 90 to 95% of my analytic modeling with a single tool that integrates easily with Ansys Workbench, Ansys physics-based solvers, and ECAD tools,” says Schirmer. “I’m grateful to have a partner who understands my needs and responds to them with the right capabilities.”
BMW uses Nvidia’s Omniverse to build state-of-the-art factories
BMW has standardized on a new technology unveiled by Nvidia, the Omniverse, to simulate every aspect of its manufacturing operations, in an effort to push the envelope on smart manufacturing. BMW has done this down to work order instructions for factory workers from 31 factories in its production network, reducing production planning time by 30%, the company said.
Product customizations dominate BMW’s product sales and production. They’re currently producing 2.5 million vehicles per year, and 99% of them are custom. BMW says that each production line can be quickly configured to produce any one of ten different cars, each with up to 100 options or more across ten models, giving customers up to 2,100 ways to configure a BMW. In addition, Nvidia Omniverse gives BMW the flexibility to reconfigure its factories quickly to accommodate new big model launches.
BMW succeeds with its product customization strategy because each system essential to production is synchronized on the Nvidia Omniverse platform. As a result, every step in customizing a given model reflects customer requirements and also be shared in real-time with each production team. In addition, BMW says real-time production monitoring data is used for benchmarking digital twin performance. With the digital twins of an entire factory, BMW engineers can quickly identify where and how each specific models’ production sequence can be improved. An example is how BMW uses digital humans and simulation to test new workflows for worker ergonomics and efficiency, training digital humans with data from real associates. They’re also doing the same with the robotics they have in place across plant floors today. Combining real-time production and process monitoring data with simulated results helps BMW’s engineers quickly identify areas for improvement, so quality, cost, and production efficiency goals keep getting achieved.
Expanding Omniverse: BMW Group Builds their Factory of the Future 2.0
Applying Artificial Intelligence to Paint Shop Robots
Häcker says that factories in the automotive industry have “enormous amounts of latent data about manufacturing processes, raw materials, and products. The key to leveraging these data assets is connectivity with the right interface at the control level to get at the information provided by robots, ovens, cathodic electrocoating systems or conveyor technology. Operators in existing plants are often constrained because most of their systems do not have connectivity and the right interface for data acquisition.”
Industry 4.0 and the Automotive Industry
“It takes about 30 hours to manufacture a vehicle. During that time, each car generates massive amounts of data,” points out Robert Engelhorn, director of the Munich plant. “With the help of artificial intelligence and smart data analytics, we can use this data to manage and analyze 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.”
One part of the plant that is already seeing benefits from AI is the press shop, which turns more than 30,000 sheet metal blanks a day into body parts for vehicles. Each blank is given a laser code at the start of production so the body part can be clearly identified throughout the manufacturing process. This code is picked up by BMW’s 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. These parameters are related to the quality of the parts produced.
BMW-led study highlights need for AI-based AM part identification
With time-to-market in the automotive industry steadily decreasing, demand for prototyping components is higher than before and the vision of large-scale production, delivering just-in-time to assembly lines, is emerging. This is not only a question of increasing output quantity and production speed but also of economic viability. The process chain of current available AM technologies still includes a high amount of labor intensive work and process steps, which lead to a high proportion of personnel costs and decreased product throughput. Also, these operations lead to bottlenecks and downtimes in the overall process chain.
Fully automated end-of-line test bench for BMW eDrive
BMW Group and NVIDIA take virtual factory planning to the next level
The BMW Group and NVIDIA are generating a completely new approach to planning highly complex manufacturing systems – with the Omniverse platform. The virtual factory planning tool integrates a range of planning data and applications and allows real-time collaboration with unrestricted compatibility. As industry leaders, the BMW Group and NVIDIA are setting new standards in virtual factory planning.