The system works by continuously evaluating the spatial relationship between the line’s automated production systems and the vehicles being processed.
Like many manufacturers, the BMW automobile
plant in Regensburg, Germany, has long used tracking devices to monitor its
production processes and provide traceability of its products.
In recent years, these systems have included a number of handheld scanning
systems, which allow operators to quickly import vehicle data that is then
stored in a central database.
However, BMW has now further improved its tracking capabilities by implementing
a new tool assistance system (TAS) from tracking equipment provider Ubisense,
along with a location identification system (LIS) developed jointly by Ubisense
and the software company IBS AG.
The system works by continuously evaluating the spatial relationship between
the line’s automated production systems and the vehicles being processed. A
positive “relationship event” is generated when a mobile tool enters a
predefined zone around the vehicle, or when the vehicle enters a zone around an
item of automated equipment.
Each “event” causes a vehicle-specific program to be loaded into the tool in
question, or starts an automation system with the correct program for the
particular vehicle detected. Typical tools and equipment controlled by the
system include torque tools, riveting hammers, diagnostic equipment and
programmable logic controllers.
LIS/TAS is fully integrated into BMW’s production IT environment via the
system’s IBS communications platform, and is in production across the entire
Regensburg assembly plant, controlling approximately 120 tool systems used to
produce about 1,000 cars per day.
Vehicle location in 3D is performed in real-time via Ubisense tags located on
the cars and a series of sensors mounted at fixed locations along the
“The introduction of LIS/TAS has [eliminated] the need to scan vehicles in
order to identify them,” says Andreas Lehner, project manager at BMW
Regensburg. “All the project objectives have been met on time and within the
planned budget. From the standpoint of value creation, the project is a
For more on process monitoring and tracking, visitwww.ubisense.net.