Industry 4.0 in Automobile Industry
Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Industrial Revolution drove new manufacturing technology that would fuel the economic growth of significant parts of the globe and a new standard of living for centuries. Steam power, machines of all types, interchangeable parts, and innumerable other advancements offered manufacturers unparalleled levels of productivity — and profitability.
Industry 1.0 represented the rise of water and steam power, 2.0 the advent of electric power, and 3.0 computing capabilities, Industry 4.0 harnesses the inter-connectivity of machines, processes and products.
An essential facet of Industry 4.0 is autonomous production methods powered by a concept referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT) — the idea that by harnessing a connected mesh of objects, devices and computers machines can communicate with each other. Autonomous robots are a seminal example across countless industries, including manufacturing.
By connecting to a central server, database or programmable logic controller the actions of robots can be coordinated and automated to a greater extent than ever before. They can complete tasks intelligently, in an orchestrated manner with minimal human input. Materials can be transported across the factory floor via autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), avoiding obstacles, coordinating with fleet mates, and identifying where pickups and drop offs are needed in real-time.
Automobiles and The Next Wave Of Automation
In the automobile industry, small-batch capabilities will allow for more versatility in welding, seam sealing, and assembly using cooperative, autonomous robots. For example, fixed clamping devices currently used in the welding process will develop into adaptive industrial robots that can hold and spin each piece according to the individual requirements of the welding robots.
As a result, companies will be able to produce multiple car models with different body styles and designs using one flexible production line. Product and plant engineering can be expanded to multiple product life cycles and models.
In the future, the car-making process will be overseen by automatic job-control systems. These will use data integration to modify the manufacturing process automatically, making multiple order systems obsolete. Car component suppliers will automatically adjust their processes on the basis of new orders from the automaker, maximizing just-in-time logistics. This change will reduce the costs of logistics and operations.
Although robots will be more autonomous in the car factory of the future, employees will continue to play a role. Human workers will be equipped with augmented-reality glasses that can put logistics and manufacturing information in their field of vision. The glasses will use virtual reality to highlight the location where each part should be mounted in the assembly process.
Similarly, data glasses will guide consignment employees in selecting the proper parts. Gesture-recognizing cameras will assist workers in performing quality control checks by automatically documenting and storing quality issues, reducing manual paperwork. These advances will enable auto workers to handle a wider variety of car models while reducing failure rates and enhancing quality control.
During the lifetime of the car, its virtual model, created in the engineering phase and integrating all relevant data, will constantly be updated with performance data and data from exchanged parts. Using this virtual model, producers can improve their after-sales service, offer a range of new services, and generate insights that can be used to optimize the design of future cars.
Industry 4.0 allows for a faster response to customer needs than is possible today. It improves the flexibility, speed, productivity, and quality of the production process. And it lays the foundation for the adoption of new business models, production processes, and other innovations. This will enable a new level of mass customization as more industrial producers invest in Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance and customize their offerings.
This article is adopted and adapted from the following references: