BMW, Microsoft Team on Digital Manufacturing Platform

April 02, 2019 at 12:49 PM

BMW AG and Microsoft Inc. plan to develop a digital platform for “smart” factories.

The new Open Manufacturing Platform will be built on Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure Internet of Things architecture. BMW already has 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems connected with its own Azure-based IoT platform.

BMW and Microsoft aim to add at least four other partners to the open-sourced platform by year-end. Members will be able improve efficiency by sharing data, which previously had been managed by multiple proprietary systems, across various machines and equipment.

Partners also will share case studies of existing programs, such as supply chain management, predictive maintenance and “digital feedback loops.”

BMW will contribute several initial use cases, including the second-generation autonomous transport systems at the company’s plant in Regensburg, Germany. The system simplifies BMW’s logistics processes through centralized coordination, according to the carmaker.

Rival Volkswagen AG announced a similar initiative last week with Amazon Web Services and Siemens AG. That program aims to connect 122 VW facilities worldwide.