September 24, 2021

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Technology – modular production: high requirements, great opportunities

@Designbymickey (CC0 License)/pixabay.com

Efficiency, flexibility and automation: these are the basic requirements of modern production. Thus, the classic assembly line is taking a back seat, while modular production is growing in popularity. In order to develop layouts of this type to their potential, however, several aspects must be taken into account at the planning stage.

The end of the Audi assembly line is already sealed

Gone are the times when the same standard vehicles could always be sold in droves. Today’s automobile production is characterized by a wealth of variables. Products can be customized to a high degree. So in 2016 Audi decided to dismantle the previous assembly line into individual assembly islands. Since then, one full scope of work has been carried out on each of these islands – for example the installation of steering wheels. After the work is completed, the car independently finds its way to the next production island. Depending on the device, this route can vary from vehicle to vehicle. This reduces productivity times and increases usage, as employees are only faced with the vehicles they actually have to work on.

The demand for logistics is increasing

In the next step, Audi would like to establish a connection between the product and production. Thus the vehicles should be able to choose the respective collecting island that currently has the least use. This of course also creates entirely new requirements on logistics: the top-level system determines which station the product will next arrive at. This automatically triggers the logistics requests that will be fulfilled by autonomous robotic vehicles in the future.

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Driverless transportation systems: an important component of modular production

The Audi example shows that modular production with a significant degree of automation places high demands on internal logistics. Driverless transport (AGV) systems are of particular interest. In this field, technology has made great progress in the recent past, so that AGVs can now reasonably be used in almost all areas of production and industries.

However, the technical and economic feasibility of AGVS deployments must be carefully evaluated beforehand. Engineering experts like them do the job MR PLAN from Donauwörth. It not only checks the feasibility of related projects, but also supports companies in selecting the right vehicles, the right communication systems and the right navigation technologies. In addition, they create the required layouts including the relevant drag curves. This layout is verified with the help of simulation. Then the specialists also prepare the specification sheet and bid documents. Experts also make their technical knowledge available during the implementation phase. Therefore, production companies have an experienced partner at their side at every stage of the AGVS project.

Manufacturing concept of the future

Diversity of variables and, in some cases, highly volatile batch sizes will mean that companies in many industries are turning to more diverse concepts such as standardized production. The key to success is always a well-thought-out comprehensive concept that equally includes assembly, logistics and system planning. Therefore engineering experts such as MR PLAN Group rely on comprehensive consideration and implementation of the innovative plant concept. In this way, they ensure that all components of the smart factory are intertwined smoothly and that smooth operations are guaranteed.

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