Audi Explains How It Innovates Manufacturing With out Manufacturing Hell

As St. Elon of Texas mentioned, “Prototypes are straightforward. Manufacturing is difficult.”

Prototypes are inclined to get a lot of the media consideration as a result of all of us prefer to see new issues. A elaborate new design is thrilling as a result of it’s one thing we’ve by no means seen earlier than, and in probably the most thrilling case, the brand new prototype has thrilling capabilities that aren’t on the street in the present day. However that’s the straightforward half in comparison with making tons of of 1000’s of excellent copies of the automotive so we are able to get them in our driveway.

As soon as a product or know-how is able to be mass-produced, it wants to fulfill the very best requirements of high quality and reliability. That is the place Audi’s Manufacturing Lab (or P-Lab for brief) is available in.

The Manufacturing Lab is a analysis and growth facility the place new applied sciences and manufacturing processes are put to the check. The objective is to seek out out if they’ve the potential for use on a big scale. To develop future applied sciences, together with these which are cutting-edge and progressive, whereas additionally integrating them into manufacturing processes, is the objective. In Gaimersheim, a brief drive from Ingolstadt, P-Lab director Henning Löser’s workers evaluates trailblazing new concepts for sequence manufacturing. That suggests discovering and testing options to make sure that effectivity, ergonomics, flexibility, and high quality are improved in Audi amenities.

What Audi’s Manufacturing Lab Is Like

The corridor in Gaimersheim is a mishmash of a store ground and an IT lab that appears like no different. The 5G antennas are in a single nook. An industrial robotic is positioned on its base diagonally throughout from them. Server cupboards are positioned behind it. IT professionals work at computer systems whereas specialists observe how the machines work together with one another and the way information is transmitted.

“We take an concept that labored as soon as below lab circumstances and get it off the bottom so it could possibly go into steady 24/7 operation,” Löser explains. “We don’t want a giant couch or a soccer desk for that.”

Day-after-day, specialists search for and check new high-tech options like Ingolstadt store ground IT or 5G for mass manufacturing suitability. An actual manufacturing setting is far more important for Löser. As a result of Audi couldn’t check new applied sciences prior to now, new know-how analysis was restricted. In 2012, the corporate with the 4 rings established the Manufacturing Lab to assist treatment this drawback. Since then, Henning Löser’s workers has been growing and testing sensible help programs that staff use along with new variations within the mesh between individual and machine. These applied sciences lower your expenses whereas additionally always enhancing and bettering office ergonomics by way of procedural security.

For instance, modular meeting, Audi’s meeting and logistics idea, which is the one considered one of its sort on the planet. “Within the course of, we’re always in contact with our colleagues in manufacturing so we might be positive we are able to implement our concepts,” says Löser, who has overseen the P-Lab since 2016. “We present them precisely what we’re engaged on. There’s no level in us growing one thing theoretical that no one makes use of in apply. We check and study.”

The P-Lab has a long-term method to planning and executing initiatives. Löser claims that conventional manufacturing planning didn’t enable for such flexibility. 5G is one such instance. Since 2018, the P-Lab in Gaimersheim has utilized a 5G base station. 5G as a radio community for automated manufacturing calls for various requirements than downloading movies. For instance, controlling the tools necessitates utilizing URLLC (Extremely-Dependable Low-Latency Communications). The Gaimersheim exams helped the corporate work out world 3GPP requirements and contribute them to organizations that develop these.

“We did our half to make 5G operate seamlessly as a radio commonplace in automation,” Löser explains. The lab’s work ranges from controls for a security cell with robots that should flip every part off inside ten milliseconds to logistics functions that hyperlink containers utilizing large machine connectivity. “We’ll want that on the subject of the way forward for manufacturing and logistics,” says Löser.

Henning Löser, Head of Audi Manufacturing Lab, works with radio tools and servers to optimize its use in manufacturing environments.

Reliability Is The #1 Concern & Purpose

Trying into the longer term doesn’t imply you don’t must control the place your ft are so that you don’t journey. The Audi P-Lab, in addition to different vehicle producers, requires a steady manufacturing setting. “Our objective is 99.9 % reliability,” says Löser. “We should assess how good uptime is in day by day use.” How good is the corresponding service idea? How ought to colleagues from upkeep be educated in order that the brand new utility operates with out interruption? “We solely switch new know-how into manufacturing when our colleagues say one thing actually helps them,” the P-Lab boss explains. One other essential ingredient is whether or not there’s a appropriate space of utility within the manufacturing course of for a brand new know-how in any respect.

When Automation Requires Extra Folks Than Handbook Labor

One other drawback Audi’s workforce mentioned they got here throughout was that automated programs is usually a lot quicker, however they themselves are advanced and take a number of work.

“If we use 100,000 cameras in manufacturing, we even have 100,000 industrial PCs that do the evaluation,” Löser explains. “However then who takes care of upkeep and repairs on that tools? Who updates the working programs? Sooner or later, the price of upkeep exploded.”

One other illustration is driverless automobiles. The extra Audi employs, the extra performance and fleet managers it requires. Like driverless automobiles, IT automation and reliability is vital. This consists of tools upkeep and monitoring. “The general effectivity must be proper,” says Löser. The answer: work primarily based on software program and cloud know-how. Updates go through the server — with three mouse clicks. Löser says, “Proper now, we’re operating our store ground IT within the Ingolstadt Heifer through a central server answer.”

Interplay With Actual Manufacturing Websites

Audi’s Manufacturing Lab doesn’t need to turn out to be an ivory tower the place they’ve numerous good concepts however no connection to the actual world of constructing automobiles for purchasers. Right this moment, greater than 30 staff from the Manufacturing Lab collaborate with the varied websites. As a result of inter-departmental employees from all manufacturing departments work collectively within the P-Lab on a wide range of initiatives, the variety of staff is multiplied 5 or 6 instances by non permanent lab customers.

“One thing is at all times happening within the P-Lab. Direct interplay with the customers is vital,” says Löser.

Featured picture supplied by Audi.


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