Flexible manufacturing systems are becoming more popular and can be divided into two types of areas: machine flexibility and routing flexibility. Machine flexibility refers to the ability of using several machines for the same operations and the system’s ability to customise changes such as volume and capabilities. Routing flexibility refers to a system’s ability to adapt to new products and in what order the assembly puts the products together.
In the context of intelligent manufacturing, the cognitive robots can perceive information uncertainty, change scheduling management and adjust manufacturing behaviour to cope independently with a complex manufacturing problem. Using distributed algorithms for reconfiguration of self-reconfigurable robots will drastically simplify the complexity of configuring robots. The Cobots can work independently and deal with changeable scheduling of a smart factory with connected assembly lines.
Industry 4.0 can support increased product quality in several areas, for example: enhanced customisation, increased customer interaction, data based value-design, and changes from product offerings to service offerings.
The Automotive industry is currently leading the development of manufacturing and assembly concepts and processes. The development is driven by
environmental requirements, with the introduction of alternative drivelines, and fierce market competition, with an explosion of the number of models and variants, as a means of meeting the competition. These two trends call for increased flexibility in production with leading automotive manufacturers rapidly approaching the vision of “mass production one”. To produce multiple car models or even a mix of cars and motorcycles in one assembly factory is the new norm.
For assembly production the vision of “mass production one” is getting closer through new concepts where traditional moving assembly lines are replaced with new solutions based on AGV´s (Automated Guided Vehicles) that enable multiple and flexible flows on the shop floor. The assembly is set up with a main flow and multiple paths or extra loops to handle the differentiation in models and variants. This also requires new concepts for managing material flows and the set-up of stations with tools and control software.
The future of the Automotive industry is changing, and no one can tell how far the development will go. New solutions and standards will emerge. Atlas Copco is actively contributing to the development together with its customers, and is a trusted partner for support on the journey.
Atlas Copco has provided connected products for more than a decade. We have over many years, built up knowledge in connected assembly processes and have extensive experience of how to architect a connected ecosystem. Today, we are the market leader in connected tools and has the largest service organisation of all tool suppliers. This gives us a unique position where it can not only gather the data but also analyse it. Then, with our expertise in assembly and tightening, we can give specific recommendations on how to improve a connected assembly process, or recommend maintenance based on prescriptive analysis. Our proven solutions are now further integrated horizontally and share data seamlessly between all applications supporting the life cycle of assembly, from applications supporting R&D, through production to applications used in service and analysis.
The integrated loop includes a portfolio of tools, systems and services for smart connected assembly;
- Programming the tool
- Operating the tool
- Process control system
- Operator support systems, operator guidance systems
- Quality control
- Service and maintenance systems
- Data collection and data analysis
- Data driven services
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