Robots that weld, glue, fold or paint sheet metal parts are a familiar sight in automotive workshops. In body-in-white construction, there has been a high degree of automation for a long time, which these companies have mastered very well.
At present, however, there are a number of areas in which automation needs improvements.
Three examples of the challenges in body-in-white are:
- The trend today is to enable the production of more and varied types of vehicles along the same lines. This reduces the individual lot size while increasing the variance of production to the same extent.
- New materials require the integration of new joining processes into production.
- More and more manual processes previously performed by line workers have to be automated. The robot technology required for this tends to be more demanding than that of industrial robots over the past two decades (for example, with regard to tools and end effectors).
The overall direction, though, is clear: Manufacturing industries are moving towards autonomous, self-regulating, flexible, and agile manufacturing.
In light of this, what does the IT landscape in the production environment look like? That is the question our expert paper is concerned with.
- What is the status quo in simulation and programming?
- How will IT and engineering processes have to evolve so as to efficiently support companies in new automatization challenges?
- What orientation should decision-makers seek for the development of their IT landscape in the production environment specifically?