Driving the Automotive Industry Forward with Complete Smart Factory Solutions
Implementing smart factory solutions ensures standardization and integration of the spare parts logistics process throughout the supply chain.
One of the world’s largest industries by revenue is the automotive industry. Car prices contribute to the complexity of the manufacturing process due to the high expectations among consumers for product quality and customization. Smart factory technologies are the perfect way for automotive manufacturers to ensure the quality of their products meets consumer demand.
Made-to-order has become the fundamental aspect for consumers when buying cars. This demand has been responsible for increasing customization types and components.
With cars’ long lifespans, spare parts supply is crucial for after-sales services, which sets customer satisfaction. Certain German auto manufacturers supply original spare parts for discontinued car models that are well over 30 years old.
Manufacturing automation and industrial computing have become critical throughout the automotive supply chain, from allocating and storing raw materials and components to production and delivery and to timely spare parts procurement.
Smart Optimized Production Logistics
The complexity and variety of automotive parts and components have caused issues in production and management. The challenge is to deliver the correct individual parts to each workstation in the production line and assemble cars in a carefully designed sequence.
An automotive manufacturer has implemented smart factory solutions and launched an extensive project to improve its spare parts logistics. An SAP-based after-sales parts project has been implemented at warehouse locations in various countries since 2013, improving parts availability throughout the network, reducing operational costs and inventory levels, and increasing productivity. All of this has contributed to enhancing manufacturing and operational management efficiency.
Indeed, implementing smart factory solutions ensures standardization and integration of the spare parts logistics process throughout the supply chain.
It fosters a complete supply process from car dealers’ orders to payment; strengthens forecasting and planning of future spare parts demand; connects all partners to the spare parts logistics system; and bolsters warehouse management of incoming and outgoing goods, including stock transfer and annual stocktaking.
High-Performance, Durable Computing Solutions
Automotive manufacturing is a very demanding environment for computing hardware. The computing terminals are exposed to substances that are harmful to electronic devices. One example is carbon, a material that is growing more and more popular in automobile design. Carbon dust is highly electrically conducting and prone to cause short circuits if settling on a CPU. Therefore, it is vital to implement smart factory solutions such as vehicle-mounted terminals and all-in-one touch computers.
Some parts of the factory cannot be reached by the autonomous driving tugger trains (e.g., narrow areas or areas restricted for safety reasons), thus requiring manual operations by staff. A rugged terminal is used to build a hybrid automated guided vehicle (AGV) solution, integrated into an autonomous tugger train as a control and fallback solution for navigation.
This terminal must withstand harsh environments and be water, dust-resistant, shock and vibration-resistant, impact-tolerant, and have abrasion-resistant touchscreen displays. These features will ensure that spare parts and components are delivered to the production line on time and in the proper sequence.
Providing Comprehensive Services
Advantech uses various service resources to provide comprehensive local services to its customers in the automotive industry. Advantech’s complete global services and smart factory solutions are helping automotive manufacturers worldwide realize the goals of lowering operational costs and improving management and efficiency.