Video: BMW simulates, optimizes EV factory with digital twinKevin J. Harrigan | April 14, 2021
By the end of the year, BMW plans to fully commission its new EV drivetrain assembly factory in Regensberg, Germany. But before the company's executives are ready to flip the 'on' switch, manufacturing engineers are hard at work simulating the process in exquisite detail. The data will provide key insights about production process efficiencies and troubleshooting strategies, before a single drivetrain ever leaves the factory.
The digital twin was built with the help of Nvidia's Omniverse digital simulation and collaboration platform. Nvidia and BMW have honed a collaborative partnership, teaming up on everything from robots to AI to simulation.
According to BMW engineers, Omniverse allows them to detail manufacturing workflows and employee responsibilities greater than ever before. This provides increased visibility into process bottlenecks or breakdowns, permitting multiple teams of engineers to preempt inefficiencies, and view both micro and macro optimizations.
Automakers frequently use simulations to map production, but Omniverse allows a greater variety and more complex models to be simulated in the system, include variables such as material types and local gravity. It also makes recommendations for how to integrated human workers into the process in safe and ergonomical ways. This is powered by Pixar Universal Scene description, which is an open source file type developed by the namesake animation studio, which allows users to share 3D models across various softwares and digital platforms. Its utility has increased its presence to architecture.