Data analysis allows predictive maintenance and quality control.


The entire value chain of building a car generates huge amounts of data. To analyze and improve its production system, the BMW Group uses its Smart Data Analytics digitalization cluster. Intelligent data analysis makes a significant contribution to improving the quality of all production areas and logistics.

Data-driven improvements of processes and systems can reduce lead times and lower cost. Not only are new solutions being developed at headquarters but also at various points throughout the international production network. The BMW Group can thus benefit from a broad range of innovations, which open up new possibilities for flexible production. Carwatch Weekly presents a list of vehicle recalls from the previous week. While we collect our data from different regional markets, they are not complete.

Laser-Marking of Body Parts
Steel coils of up to 40 tonnes and approximately three kilometers in length are cut into blanks at the press shop before being shaped into body parts. The coil’s thickness, strength, surface texture, and oiling level are all different. Deviations from the target may cause cracks in body parts subject to special stress during the forming process.

Predictive maintenance for the Body Shop
Smart Data Analytics applications have a high potential to increase the availability of production equipment in highly automated areas. Unplanned system downtime can be avoided by ensuring maximum accuracy in forecasting the risk of breakdown. Maintenance staff can use the forecast to plan targeted maintenance interventions to minimize downtime.

Online Process Controls
The BMW Group was awarded the Prix de la Technique 2017 by the prestigious Surcar Congress, Cannes, France for its innovative concept for digitalizing the entire paint shop at the new plant in San Luis Potosi in Mexico. This plant will be in series production starting in 2019. The sensors are already in use by BMW Group’s paint shops to monitor automated production processes.

Intelligently connected systems improve the stability of process sequences and enable predictive maintenance. They also ensure customers receive the best quality. Online process control combines algorithm-based analysis and employee experience. Because real production data has been prestructured and sorted for them, this allows humans to focus on their roles as producers. It is possible to detect errors in real time, and avoid rework.

Error Prevention and Fastener Data
Bolted connections are essential to automobile production. Every vehicle has hundreds of them. All bolted connections relevant to safety are monitored and analyzed by the BMW Group. Rework may be required for bolted connections not meeting or partially meeting the specifications. The BMW Group’s preventive quality strategy has enabled it to develop algorithms that analyze bolted connections in over 3,200 assembly systems across all vehicles plants. This analysis has been ongoing since July 2017.

Material Handling and Maintenance
The highest level of flexibility is characteristic of the BMW Group’s production system. Independent benchmarks have shown that the company can produce a wide variety of models and variants, while remaining competitive. A reliable supply of materials is essential for the assembly line. Any breakdown could result in the production line being halted.