Sample of Industry 4.0: 50 seconds to build a car

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Sample of Industry 4.0: 50 seconds to build a car

Date:2017-12-23 Source:http://www.chhamt.com
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      A small robot "squeaked" the crisp light music and passed it "lightly" from the workers on the spot, smoothly transporting several auto parts to the next station. This is not the future scene portrayed by the famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, but the first time that the first financial journalist visited the Volkswagen factory in Bratislava, Slovakia, in December 2017. The actual production method based on Industry 4.0, here, from the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi A8 to the production of Porsche Cayenne, there are robots involved in it.

    Volkswagen's Industry 4.0 trial

    In the 2017 Fortune Global 500 list, Volkswagen ranked sixth. At present, Volkswagen Group has 12 brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley and Mann. It has 120 factories, more than 620,000 employees and more than 10 million vehicles. Although it experienced the "diesel door" storm before, the Volkswagen Group did not count special project expenditures in 2016, and the group's profit reached 14.6 billion euros, a record. The public is still a "aircraft carrier" for the global automotive industry.

    However, in the face of fierce competition in the automotive industry, especially from the serious challenges of digital, autonomous driving and electric vehicles, this "aircraft carrier" is also seeking active change. According to the public's latest plan for the first financial reporter: By 2025, all production bases of the Volkswagen Group, including production plants in China, will achieve digital planning and seamless network switching to ensure self-control and self-optimization. And sustainable production.

    “Technically, digitalization involves many technologies, such as cognitive computing and learning, artificial intelligence, mastery of new skills and technologies, and processes related to machine self-optimization and self-learning.” Volkswagen Group Management Board Member, Volkswagen China President and CEO Heizman said in an exclusive interview with the First Financial Reporter at the Wolfsburg headquarters that digitization is a general concept. Going deeper is the digitization of the entire production process and the elements related to "Industry 4.0".

    In Hezman's view, "Industry 4.0" is a very integrated concept. Under this concept, digital, robotic and artificial intelligence are included, and these are being integrated into all aspects of the day-to-day business operations of the Volkswagen Group.

    The 4.0 in the production process is subordinate to the overall concept of “Industry 4.0”, and the concept of “Industry 4.0” includes Production 4.0. Production 4.0 From the beginning of R&D to every aspect of design and production, it includes digital management tools, digital technology and automated process applications.

    Heizman pointed out that production 4.0 or industrial 4.0 is a digital process throughout the entire enterprise operation and production process: such as VR (Virtual Reality) technology, smart devices, wearable devices Applications, as well as some applications of 3D printing technology. In addition, there are special application areas such as automatic transportation in logistics, logistics process management with artificial intelligence, maintenance of production equipment, maximization of the entire production process and so on.

    Hezman stressed that the so-called Industry 4.0 or Production 4.0 concept is not limited to the production flexibility, the improvement, optimization and improvement of product development, production, logistics, sales and after-sales service, and customer experience. In other respects, it is closely related to Industry 4.0. "Some technologies have to be taken step by step, and it is impossible to achieve overnight and overnight. It takes time." Heizman also revealed that the deployment of related technologies in China's most important international market will have a clear plan and will advance as planned.

    30,000 industrial robots

    At the corner of the Volkswagen workshop assembly line in Wolfsburg, where the Volkswagen Group is headquartered, a first-line German female worker and her workers are busy installing the internal components of the car, such as dashboards, and she is busy with her and a huge robot around her. Hands and robots are familiar with the road and reach into the window. In just a few minutes, the instrument panel is installed in a cloud-like manner. Here, with the help of robots, workers can stop to listen to music, relax themselves, and even talk to the first financial reporters for a while.

    Different from the space where machines and people are separated from each other, it is no longer a luxury for intelligent robots to realize direct cooperation between humans and machines. The reason behind this is that robots can respond to every gesture of human beings. The intelligent production laboratory of the IT department at the Volkswagen Group headquarters is developing solutions for future automotive production. One of the projects is the intelligent robot. For the first time, humans and machines will really work together. The reason for this is that robots have the ability to recognize and consider human thoughts.

    Dr. Wolfgang Hackenberg, director of the Intelligent Production Laboratory of the Group's IT department, is leading his team with experts from the renowned Artificial Intelligence Research Center, the German Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Together we develop this technology.

    Dr. Hackenberg explained to the First Financial reporter that before this, the working steps or working spaces of humans and robots must be separated and independent, which is not a true cooperation. In the intelligent production laboratory, the situation is completely different. “We integrate robots and sensors through software, enabling humans and robots to avoid danger, work in the same space, and even collaborate with each other. So, for the first time, we have achieved direct collaboration between humans and machines.”

    In addition, the use of ergonomic principles to improve the physical fitness of human beings is also expected to be overcome. For industrial robots, this means huge energy savings potential. Dr. Dieter Geckler, a member of the Volkswagen Group's Digital Factory Working Group and head of the energy efficiency team, told the First Financial Reporter: "To save energy, weightlifters pass The way to change your feet finds the ideal balance before you start lifting weights. Like a weightlifter, a robot can save a lot of energy if it is in the right position."

    Dr. Geckler and his team stumbled upon the fact that the robot's wrong action in the wrong place would waste energy. They spontaneously tested their theories on robots at the Fraunhofer Institute in Chemnitz – their unique idea was confirmed. Based on these findings, Dr. Geckler and his team worked with the University of Applied Sciences in Ostfalia to develop a software for calculating the most energy-efficient position of robots. The software is currently in the testing and optimization phase and can be used to calculate the location of all energy-saving operations of the robot with just a few clicks.

    Dr. Gekler said that, similar to ergonomics, position optimization software allows robots to save an average of 10% to 15% of energy while reducing the number of robot maintenance and thus extending service life. At present, there are about 30,000 industrial robots in the Volkswagen Group's 120 factories, which will save a lot of energy.

    But this easy-to-use software is not the final product, location optimization is only the first step, and the team is currently researching robot path optimization to save more energy. This step will calculate the most energy efficient action of the robot. The third and final step is that the software will be able to optimize the acceleration and speed of the robot. This optimization software optimizes the robot's position, path and speed and will save up to 30% of energy and is expected to be operational in 2018.

    Second speed car

    At Volkswagen's Slovak factory, it currently takes only 2.5 minutes to produce 3 cars, which means that the production time of each car is 0.83 minutes, about 50 seconds. Producing cars in seconds, really entering the second-speed car phase. However, from the perspective of the public, this efficiency is still not enough. Their ultimate goal is to achieve complete autonomous production. The so-called independent production does not mean that human beings are not needed at all, but people tell what needs to be produced, and then by the factory. The robots are combined into a production line for production.

    According to the public's vision, there are at least two key points to achieve this kind of independent production: First, the production robot can move by itself. The second is a central nervous system based on big data and AI processing techniques. In the Volkswagen SPL intelligent production laboratory, the first financial reporter saw the prototype of these two technologies. The self-propelled robot is a small car with two robotic arms that use the lidar and 3D depth camera to achieve positioning and navigation functions, allowing it to move around the factory.

    The latter is a super system that tracks all production data. It analyzes which robots and components are needed to produce each model, and then automatically deploys robots and components according to production tasks. More importantly, through manual labor. The introduction of intelligence and other technologies, in the process of organizing the production process, can also learn independently, so as to continuously optimize the production process in the next production, and further improve production efficiency.

    "The Volkswagen Group has always been very strong in hardware production, and in the process of Industry 4.0, the status of software will become higher and higher." In order to realize the idea, Apple's former executives, Volkswagen CDO John Joanworth ( Johann Jungwirth) told CBN that Volkswagen has more than 4,000 IT and technology engineers working on digital transformation around the world.

    In addition, Volkswagen set up a technical center called IT City at Wolfsburg headquarters, recruiting a large number of talents in the IT and technology fields, and established SPL intelligent production laboratories, KTI technology and capacity innovation centers, LEAN centers and other subdivided technologies. R & D Center. At the same time, Volkswagen will set up three future centers in Germany, the United States and China, and set up IT-related technology R&D centers in six countries including the United States, Spain and China. Volkswagen College, a staff training organization of the Volkswagen Group, will also invest heavily in the introduction of a full-training program for this digital transformation.

    Ralph Linde, head of the Volkswagen Group Academy, told the First Financial Reporter that Volkswagen will systematically train all employees to publicize AR/VR, network, automation, big data, and labor. Basic knowledge such as intelligence.

    In the process of transformation, what cannot be avoided is that a large number of traditional workers are at risk of losing their jobs. The Volkswagen Academy is also training them to help them transfer to other digital jobs. For those who can't adapt to the future digital work, they will take measures such as early retirement.

    In addition, the Volkswagen Institute recruits more than 1,000 apprentices each year. In 2010, 50% of apprentices were trained in mechanical and metal processing, and by 2019, 74% of employees are expected to be digital in IT. Training. Ralph Linde said that the digital transformation involves not only technical issues, but also corporate culture and other aspects. The public colleges need to make the public's employees prepare both technically and psychologically.

    In the car assembly line, a worker and a robot sit in the body to complete the various operations required for assembly. The production system is operated by a number of social machines, automatically connected to the "cloud" platform, looking for experts who can solve different problems. Experts hold a full range of maintenance techniques and virtual tools. The robot automatically integrates all the information to continuously improve its performance. The above scenario is a similar hard sci-fi future automotive industry production scenario described in Roland Berger's 2016 report, and some of it has now been implemented at Volkswagen's factory.

    Roland Berger partner Shu Chang told the First Financial Reporter that the future of Industry 4.0 can improve the production efficiency of car companies and bring more profit to car companies. For example, digital data can be used to mine cars. The value chain, more accurate touch to users, better after-sales service, financial business. "The Volkswagen Group can be said to be the first to advance in this regard. Of course, it is still waiting to see which car companies will take the lead in the next step of development."
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