Is manufacturing of the future a robot’s world? or How BMW is transforming production


When it comes to production, assembly lines are fast, coordinated, and large in scale. Over the past 100 years, assembly lines have become the backbone of most factories, and today, thanks to digital technologies, they are undergoing a real transformation. BMW’s experts have already figured out how to improve assembly line quality with new technologies.

What is the purpose of assembly lines in the first place?

Assembly lines are systems in which work-in-progress is moved sequentially from station to station, by a conveyor. They optimize production, ensure safety, and allow us to produce more sophisticated products.

Almost all industries use it today as part of their production process. There are at least three ways to increase productivity with the advancement of digital technology:

  • Data collection.

New sensors and IIoT devices on the assembly line allow real-time data collection from people and machines.

  • High variability.

Some assembly lines are already less linear than their predecessors. Thanks to digital technology, it is possible to dynamically distribute the assembly between different lines and cells, depending on the tasks.

  • Collaboration.

Robotics, collaborative automation, and sophisticated software make it possible to increase the productivity of the mutual work of a person with a machine.

How does BMW innovate?

At the end of 2021, BMW plans to start making transmissions for electric vehicles. In doing so, before proceeding to the actual production on the conveyor, the entire process will be simulated in a highly detailed virtual version of the factory. The German automaker used a new software platform called Omniverse, developed by chipmaker Nvidia. With Omniverse you can simulate the entire manufacturing process by using photorealistic details and analyzing physical properties – gravity and materials. Even the way people move around the factory is modeled with the help of artificial intelligence.

You can describe the manufacturing process from start to finish and understand how changes in one part can affect another. With the ability to import 3D models, a more complex environment can be created.

In addition, since June 2020, BMW has already been using additive manufacturing to make metal and plastic parts for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The automaker believes these technologies offer a number of benefits: 

  • quick component availability, 
  • flexible design,
  • and the ability to manufacture parts without complex tools.

What will the future look like for automated assembly lines?

Technology alone is no longer sufficient. It is always necessary to have a trained personnel program and design the assembly process for quality work. The experts from ABC Assembly are happy to share their expertise and help you find an effective, modern solution to your problems.