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The BMW car assembly plant in Regensburg, Germany has a reputation for adopting new production methods ahead of the pack. In 2007 Ubisense, together with software experts IBS, were awarded a contract to provide a revolutionary new kind of industrial tool control system. The BMW Tool Assistance System (TAS), which combines IBS‘ toolcontrolling software with Ubisense‘s RTLS technology helps the car manufacturer locate and identify production assets, vehicles and torque tools at 150 tool stations, where 1,100 vehicles are typically assembled per day.
Until the introduction of the Ubisense system, the vehicles arriving at a station on the line were identified by the worker using a barcode scanner to scan a paper label fixed to the car. Based on the vehicle identification, the IBS software would load the appropriate torque program into the tool at that station.
The requirement identified by BMW was the need to eliminate the barcode scan and remove the unproductive hours from the production process. BMW turned to Ubisense to help them to improve efficiency and error-proof the possibility of scanning the wrong vehicle.
Because multiple vehicle models are produced on the same assembly line, power tool settings must be constantly adapted for the specific model entering a work station. Previously, to load the specific tool settings a vehicle’s VIN was identified via a barcode scan upon entry to a work station. Manual barcode
scans for VIN identification were taking up to 6 seconds per tool operation across 150 tool stations for 1,100 cars per day.
By precisely tracking Ubisense tags on vehicles and tools, the system provides BMW with efficient and reliable tool control through automatic identification of a vehicles VIN, eliminating the barcode scans and automatically loading tool programs and torque settings for each vehicle identified.
Real-time, automatic tool control has reduced non-value added work across the assembly line and contributes to error prevention. Hundreds of hours per day have been saved due to the elimination of manual barcode scans.