Germany – In preparation for ramp up of the new BMW 3 Series, virtual reality technology has enabled the OEM to set up cockpit preassembly workstations.

By using VR, BMW says it was able to assess the whole of the new production area in virtual reality and test new procedures in 3D.

Matthias Schindler, responsible for Virtual Planning and Implementation in Production at the BMW Group: “Time-consuming trial installations that replicate the workstation in its actual dimensions were no longer needed. And the fact that all the specialists involved – from logistics experts to systems planners to production employees – were easily able to exchange ideas in the early stages was an important added benefit for the team.”

With planning and preparations remaining in a virtual world, production of the existing cockpit continued without disruption.

The basis for the planning is digitalised 3D factory data that BMW has been capturing from real structures of its plants for the past several years. The resulting three-dimensional image of production, in the form of a so-called cloud diagram, does away with time-consuming, long-handed reconstruction and manual recording on site.

BMW says, when planning future workplaces or entire assembly halls, its departments can now combine existing data with a virtual “library” of shelves, lattice boxes, small load carriers and around 50 other widely-used operating resources.