June 23, 2022
• As the newest BMW iFACTORY, Plant Lydia defines future automotive production
• Total investment of RMB 15 billion reaffirms the BMW Group's long-term commitment and confidence in the Chinese market
• Annual production capacity of the BMW Shenyang Production Base increases to 830,000 units, deepening contribution to local economic and industrial development
• Highly flexible Plant Lydia is capable of producing up to 100% electric vehicles; its first model is the electric all new BMW i3
(Shenyang / Beijing) The BMW Group has brought its future-oriented BMW iFACTORY production strategy to China. On June 23rd, 2022, BMW Brilliance’s Plant Lydia was officially opened in Tiexi District, Shenyang. The new plant is the best example of the BMW iFACTORY strategy, setting new high standards for production that is LEAN. GREEN. and DIGITAL. This latest demonstration of the BMW Group’s leadership in innovative automotive manufacturing is a perfect fit to China’s industrial upgrading and supports the overall development of the automotive industry. At 15 billion RMB, Plant Lydia is the biggest single investment in the history of BMW in China, confirming the BMW Group’s long-term commitment and confidence in China.
The BMW Brilliance Plant Lydia is a future-oriented plant that is geared towards e-mobility. With its high flexibility, it is capable of producing up to 100% electric vehicles, depending on market demand. The All New BMW i3, BMW's first all-electric mid-size sports sedan, has already started production in Plant Lydia.
“Automotive manufacturing of the future requires a new, holistic way of thinking. With the BMW iFACTORY strategy, we are defining the future orientation of our BMW Group plants and production technologies to meet the challenges of the transformation to e-mobility,” said BMW AG Board Member for Production, Dr. Milan Nedeljković. He emphasized: “With its pioneering digitalization, leading sustainability and high flexibility, Plant Lydia is a showcase for the BMW iFACTORY strategy.”
“Within just 3 months, we’ve extended Plant Dadong, opened Plant Lydia, and launched two locally-produced models – the new BMW X5 and All New BMW i3. This shows that ‘BMW Group - At Home in China’ is not just what we say, but what we deliver time after time”, said Mr. Jochen Goller, President & CEO of BMW Group Region China. “Our e-mobility strategy is key for delivering on BMW’s ambitious sustainable development goals. The new iFACTORY Plant Lydia is capable of producing up to 100% electric vehicles, according to market demand. Together with our Tiexi and Dadong plants, Lydia will play an important role in further accelerating our electrification transformation in China.”
“Today is a proud day for BMW Brilliance and the BMW Group. It marks an important milestone in our successful development in the city of Shenyang over the past nearly 20 years”, said Dr. Franz Decker, President & CEO of BMW Brilliance Automotive. “With the opening of our new Plant Lydia, we not only increase our production capacity in Shenyang, but also prepare our production base to meet the needs of our Chinese customers now and in the future. LEAN. GREEN. and DIGITAL., Plant Lydia is the perfect embodiment of the BMW iFACTORY strategy.”
Next level digitalization and pioneering virtualization
The newly built Plant Lydia fully implements the BMW iFACTORY strategy and stands out within the automotive industry for its trailblazing digitalization. Plant Lydia is the first BMW plant fully planned and simulated in the virtual world from the very start. With Epic Games’ powerful Unreal Engine as its backbone, the plant buildings, facilities, production lines and equipment were all planned and commissioned using virtualization technologies. As such Plant Lydia can be considered a forerunner for the “Industrial Metaverse”.
Virtualization brings many benefits: for starters, planners and plant workers can experience the virtual space of the plant before the construction is completed. By doing so, they can analyze, evaluate, and identify design and operational issues in advance so adjustments and optimizations can be made ahead of time. By reducing subsequent construction and execution phases, costs can be lowered and the efficiency of plant construction and planning is significantly improved. In the case of Plant Lydia, the merging of virtual and real worlds shortened planning times, enabled cross-regional and cross-time zone collaboration, and helped overcome logistical challenges triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Virtualization saved six months of planning and construction time, reducing the overall time from construction to production at Plant Lydia to just over 2 years.
Virtualization is also transforming logistics operations at the BMW Shenyang Production Base. For inbound parts, the container online system pioneered in the BMW Group combines real-time logistics data with 3D modelling to simulate different logistics scenarios, which support secure, efficient and precise container management. Through a real-time, visualized digital twin, operators can have an in-depth view of all operations in the container yard. Furthermore, by using heat map analysis, planners can better manage container yard operations and inbound logistics, which helps to deliver parts to production more accurately and efficiently. Loading simulations and an automated train scheduling system connected to production are also optimizing outbound logistics. Since nearly 80% of finished BMW cars leave the Shenyang Plants by train, these digital technologies support on-time vehicle delivery to customers.
Plant Lydia is a “data-driven” plant, where Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms connect every product, process and person through transparent, always-available and integrated data for high-quality and efficient digital production. The plant uses an industry-leading “IPSI” production management system and real-time location tracking to provide instant, transparent information about every car as it goes through the assembly process. Mobile devices and smart apps provide “data at your fingertips” to workers on the production line, for fast, data-driven decision-making. Every vehicle’s quality data, such as geometric data, is tracked at-line through different stages of production in a continuous loop to ensure highest product quality from the first process to the final vehicle roll-off.
At Plant Lydia, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics and algorithms has shifted decision-making from "experience-driven" to "data-driven". In the plant’s Paint Shop, an AI computer vision system photographs and analyses the painted surface of every car, taking 100,000 photos in 100 seconds. Through machine learning, the system’s intelligent computer vision can identify and flag tiny defects, thereby ensuring each car produced has a flawless painted surface. The BMW Shenyang production already has already implemented around 100 AI applications.
A powerful network environment and data processing capabilities are essential to realize a "data-driven" plant. The 1,600 multi-functional cameras at Plant Lydia generate more than 10 petabytes of data every year, and the entire plant is covered with a gigabit 5G network to meet the bandwidth requirements for technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and real-time video transmission. To cope with the massive amount of data generated, BMW Brilliance has built a new data center for Plant Lydia, covering an area of about 3,500 square meters – equivalent to more than 40 badminton courts – and containing more than 1,200 servers.
Producing cars in the most sustainable way
BMW Group is committed to building the greenest electric cars. The Group aims to reduce carbon emissions across the life cycle of its vehicles by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2019. This targets includes an 80% carbon reduction in production. As such, Plant Lydia has been built as a green and sustainable plant from the start.
Already, the entire BMW Shenyang Production Base uses 100% renewable electricity and features 290,000 square meters of solar panels, which is the largest corporate solar energy system in Liaoning Province. The system generates 44,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power 9,000 ordinary households for a year. The extension project of the solar panels will continue in the coming years, with 120,000 square meters of solar panels set to be installed on the Plant Lydia site.
As a newly-built plant, Lydia further raises sustainability standards. It has the first Combined Heating Power (CHP) system in Liaoning province, which uses natural gas in place of coal power. It utilizes a range of advanced heat recovery technologies in the low-energy consumption Paint Shop, as well as energy-efficient electric-powered welding guns in the body shop. The new plant's pioneering smart energy management system can provide transparent energy and resource consumption data from plant and facility level, down to process level and equipment level. The system will also introduce AI technologies for in-depth analysis to further optimize the energy and resource consumption at the plant.
Plant Lydia’s definition of green also extends to ecology and biodiversity protection. As well as extensive lawn areas and more than 11,000 planted trees of various species, Plant Lydia features a 7,500 square meter biodiversity garden with 33 different types of plants and an artificial lake that uses grey water. Sustainable landscaping and a sponge city system collects rainwater to nourish plants and replenish underground water.
A production system geared towards e-mobility and with high flexibility
Flexibility is a key competitive advantage of BMW Group production. In particular, the Group is capable of quickly deploying resources and adjusting production based on demands at short notice. The overall design of Plant Lydia is directed towards electric vehicle production, but it is also able to produce all other models flexibly and efficiently. Because of this, new models and variants can be integrated more quickly and customer delivery times can be reduced. This is enabled via flexible production systems, high automation, and the extensive use of intelligent autonomously guided vehicles (AGV). Plant Lydia is also home to a “science lab for quality”, a centralized location that brings together quality data, state-of-the-art technology and quality experts for in-depth testing and analysis, and fast problem-solving.
A concrete demonstration of "At Home in China" strategy
Located in the Tiexi district of Shenyang, Plant Lydia covers a total area of 2.9 million square meters. The new plant gets its Chinese name – Lǐ Dá – from the village where it is located, but with subtly different Chinese characters to create the meaning “achieving goals and targets”. After full completion, the plant will be fully-fledged with all four main technologies: press shop, body shop, paint shop, and assembly. At 15 billion RMB, Plant Lydia is the biggest single investment in the history of BMW in China. With the project completion, investment into the Shenyang Production Base totals 83 billion RMB.
Shenyang is the BMW Group’s largest production base worldwide. In 2021, BMW Brilliance was – for the first time – the largest manufacturer of premium cars in China, producing more than 700,000 BMW vehicles. With the opening of Plant Lydia, overall production capacity at the BMW Shenyang Production Base increases to 830,000 units per year. This is further boosting local development and employment, and contributing to the industrial upgrading of the high-end manufacturing industry in Liaoning Province. In the past four years alone, BMW Brilliance has created 6,000 new jobs at its production base in Shenyang. The total number of BMW Group employees in China has exceeded 28,000.
The opening of Plant Lydia is also an important step for BMW Group's accelerated transformation towards electrification. The BMW Group will offer five BMW BEV models to Chinese customers in 2022: the BMW iX3, BMW i3, BMW i4, BMW iX, and BMW i7. In 2023, the number of BMW Group electrified products in China will rise to 13 models.