MUNICH—Simulation is helping BMW design assembly lines at the company’s new factory under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, more than two years before the scheduled official launch of series production.

Scheduled to open in 2025, Debrecen is the BMW’s first facility to be planned and validated completely virtually. Construction has just begun, and the new facility is scheduled to produce BMW’s new all-electric model, the Neue Klasse.

BMW Group is taking a digital-first approach to validate and optimize complex manufacturing systems across its production network using NVIDIA Omniverse Enterprise, a platform for building and operating virtual 3D industrial environments. The software is used to run real-time digital twin simulations to optimize layouts, robotics and logistic systems virtually.

“Virtualization and artificial intelligence are accelerating and refining our planning. With the various planning systems consolidated within a digital twin, our teams around the world can now work together in real-time and make decisions faster and on a more solid foundation,” explains Milan Nedeljković, board member for production at BMW. “This makes us much quicker and more efficient and saves on costs as well.”

“Digitalization is moving fastest in the automotive industry, and BMW has been a leader in advancing this vision,” adds Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “We are partnering closely with BMW, using NVIDIA Omniverse to help streamline their manufacturing processes, enhance collaboration and further efficiency. Our collaboration will continue to push the frontiers of virtual integration for the next generation of smart, connected factories around the world.”

Both cloud-based and cloud-agnostic, NVIDIA Omniverse makes collaboration across sites and time zones easier and supports the planning and design of structures, production systems and processes. It works as a “cockpit,” offering quick, easy access to the digital planning worlds of BMW.

Based on a completely new vehicle architecture, the Neue Klasse heralds the fundamental transformation of BMW’s production to a new concept called the iFACTORY. It began in 2020, when all of BMW’s vehicle and engine plants were 3D-scanned. Since November of that year, more than 7 million square meters of indoor production space and 15 million square meters of outdoor space have been scanned. Subsequent modifications can be integrated into the digital world with a re-scan, to ensure the available data is always up to date.

Meanwhile, virtual planning is under way for the production hall for the Neue Klasse in Debrecen, where the success of the virtual start of production is a testament to the high standards that can be achieved through the digitalization of the planning process. Omniverse allows production experts to use live data both in-house and with suppliers on the detailed planning and optimization of processes and individual systems without compatibility issues. It makes structure and facility data easy to retrieve and integrate with equipment and assembly line data.

In the future, items and part numbers for production materials will be available, as well. What’s more, layout options—for instance for robots in work cells—can be played through in real-time, photorealistic simulations and adapted as required. Any modifications are evaluated, validated and implemented in real-time. The platform also will allow suppliers to be involved in decision-making.

The software also integrates the tried-and-tested design and planning tools that BMW has been using to date. These include Bentley Systems MicroStation for layout planning, ipolog for logistics planning, Siemens Process Simulate, Dassault Systemes CATIA for vehicle design, and Autodesk Revit for building planning.

Over time all product, process, quality and cost data will gradually be available in Omniverse alongside the development, planning and production processes. There will also be further developments to the platform, which are expected to include “invisible” processes, such as the consumption of energy and resources.