BMW Group prioritises factory digitalisation and ergonomics as workforce ages

BMW is also testing 'ProGloves' in production. Portable scanners can be fixed directly to workers' gloves (with a thumb-activated switch aligned with the index finger) to save people unnecessary hand and finger movement

BMW is also testing 'ProGloves' in production. Portable scanners can be fixed directly to workers' gloves (with a thumb-activated switch aligned with the index finger) to save people unnecessary hand and finger movement

BMW is also testing 'ProGloves' in production. Portable scanners can be fixed directly to workers' gloves (with a thumb-activated switch aligned with the index finger) to save people unnecessary hand and finger movement

Compared to the current paint shop, natural gas consumption and exhaust emissions at the new facility opening in 2017 are expected to decrease by about half (48% each), and energy consumption by over a quarter (27%). Emissions of volatile organic compounds will decrease as well thanks to a greater share of exhaust air to be treated. Some cleaning solvents will also be captured and recycled

This fully electric truck handles the transport of Munich plant material in public road traffic. Thanks to its alternative drive and the fact that it is only charged with energy from renewable sources, the 40-tonne truck causes close-to-zero particle pollution, BMW claims

The Smart Transport Robot moves autonomously through the logistics hall, flanked by radio transmitters and equipped with a digital map

Augmented reality apps, using inexpensive high-performance tablet computers, allow real environments to be overlaid with virtual data, similar to a car head-up display. In production, the display shows workers relevant data and information referring to individual production processes or components

It took only one weekend to measure the Rolls-Royce plant in Goodwood, England, and to record it down to an accuracy of only a few millimetres with a special 3D scanner and high-resolution digital cameras

Specifically developed robots work side by side with people without any safety fence; carrying out demanding and non-ergonomic tasks. As early as 2013, BMW started to use a new generation of much smaller and lightweight robots for a variety of tasks, such as fixing the sound insulation to the inside of doors under precise and steady high pressure

Another step to improve interactivity in human-robot collaboration is the application of gesture-controlled lightweight robots in assembly; the group is currently running pre-tests

In mid-2014, the group introduced a 3D-printed ergonomic tool for vehicle assembly that protects workers against excess strains on the thumb joints while carrying out assembly tasks

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