International Automotive Components is implementing manufacturing 4.0 and smart factory applications at its Halewood, England, facility and is aiming to extend the move to all its European manufacturing plants.
In an event held earlier this month, the leading automotive supplier unveiled the new smart applications, featuring industrial internet of things (IoT), smart logistics as well as collaborative robots (cobots).
As part of the technology upgrade, the Halewood facility features an “extremely flexible” cockpit just-in-time (JIT) assembly line for several vehicle models, which, instead of a fixed carousel, uses 42 automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
The AGVs, according to IAC, enable mass customization and can assemble up to 4 million cockpit variants on one production line.
The production lines can also be easily reconfigured by re-taping magnetic guidance stripes on the shop floor.
Another feature to add to the efficiency of production is real-time machine utilization software, which provides data in real time, allowing the management to make immediate adjustments.
The use of cobots comes at the end of production line, where the cockpit quality is checked by skilled operators supported by camera-equipped cobots.
With the smart features and utilization date, IAC expects to deploy predictive maintenance at its plants.
IAC plans to roll out smart factory integration to all its European manufacturing operations to improve manual work and increase flexibility.
The Luxembourg-headquartered group currently operates 26 European plants, with a new facility in Opole, Poland, now also nearing completion.
The company manufactures automotive components and systems, including instrument panels, console systems, door panels, headliners and overhead systems for automakers around the world.