Advantages of digitalization in production in the field of e-mobility

Progressive digitization and automation are bringing about numerous changes in production - especially in the field of e-mobility. Suppliers of automotive parts, for example, can benefit from streamlined process flows that are also faster and more uniform.

digitalization

However, a basic prerequisite for functioning digitization in production in the area of e-mobility is that all systems and technologies, but also the people in the production facilities, are networked with each other. Only in this way is a functioning, smooth exchange of data between production, intralogistics and the company possible.

The trend toward e-mobility is growing ever stronger and, among other things, is also leading to greater pressure on automotive parts suppliers. A complex combustion engine has thousands of parts on the powertrain - while an electric motor has only hundreds, roughly in a ratio of 10:1. This also roughly halves the time required to assemble an electric motor compared to a combustion engine. Processes thus become simpler, faster and more transparent. For the supplier, this means being able to deliver fewer parts more quickly, i.e. in shorter sequences - without compromising on quality. These increased requirements can only be met by switching to digitization in production and intralogistics in order to be able to respond well to the change brought about by e-mobility.

Advantages

The advantages of digitization and automation in production and intralogistics in the field of e-mobility are manifold and make it possible to standardize and streamline processes both at the supplier and in final assembly. In the following, we present some aspects in more detail:

Scalability

Digital systems offer a high degree of scalability due to the high degree of automation. In general, the scalability of a business model is understood to be the ability to increase sales based on the initial investments made without having to make new investments or, at most, only very small additional investments and to generate only low fixed costs. Applied to production and intralogistics in e-mobility, this means that highly flexible, individually adaptable, versatile production and intralogistics networks that can be exchanged at any time are required instead of always building new manufacturing systems when production requirements for e-vehicles change. Especially directly at the interface to the customer, it is essential that all processes can be tailored to the customer's needs in order to bring individually required products to market quickly and efficiently. This can be realized thanks to digital technologies of Industry 4.0: flexibility is the keyword.

Thanks to modern modular concepts and simple automation processes, changes with regard to the number of pieces, throughputs and variance of production and transport goods as well as the expandability of technical resources can be made easily.

Traceability -> Traceability

Traceability refers to the traceability in the value-added process from the supplier to the customer and originally results from the legal product liability. The prerequisite for this is, above all, clear identification, i.e. knowledge of the location and condition of all materials and products in a company - this is made possible by special traceability systems. In the age of digitization, these systems record the data of electronically marked products, materials, individual parts and assemblies in traceability databases. Lost goods that can no longer be located are thus a thing of the past. At the same time, traceability systems also enable the realization of Industry 4.0 applications. In e-mobility production, for example, components become digital information carriers at the same time thanks to the captured, digitized data and can thus be integrated directly into the networked value creation process.

A high degree of automation is realized through networked and digitized traceability of the material flow. Manual activities can be networked with digital processes - the production facility becomes more intelligent and the inventory can of course also be optimally monitored as well as checked for its condition.

Compatibility

Digital networking is advancing all the time. Initially, it was only people who were connected to the Internet by computer, but today, in the age of Industry 4.0, simply everything is networked in a modern smart factory. This requires a high level of compatibility between digital technologies. This is because the various companies involved in the value creation process, for example in the production of an e-vehicle, usually use different IT systems that have to be combined with each other. Uniform standards do not yet exist.

In terms of digitization in production and ensuring smooth and efficient production and intralogistics processes, this means that suitable interfaces and standards are needed to exchange and analyze the collected data with little effort.

The higher the compatibility, the easier it is for the IT systems involved in production to 'communicate with each other, make fast and secure decisions, and enable efficient manufacturing and intralogistics processes.

Modularity

Closely related to digitization in the electromobility industry are concepts for modularization for process plants. The reasons why modular plants are being digitized, as well as their benefits, are manifold and include both the flexibilization of production systems through the rapid adaptation of individual modules to uncomplicated expansions of plants and intralogistics systems for increasingly individual customer requests for products. Modularization also significantly simplifies the complexity of production systems and their maintenance and servicing. In addition, digitization also enables predictive maintenance at module level.

With the intelligent, modular monorail and shuttle transport system montrac® montratec supports its customers in efficient assembly automation and systematic process chaining of industrial production and logistics processes, especially in e-mobility and battery cell production. Thanks to intelligent digital control, the autonomously acting transport shuttles independently find the optimal route to the transport destination and connect employees, production stations and robots.

Mobility

Digitization in production offers an extraordinarily high degree of mobility: If individual elements have to be realigned or moved within a production system, this can be realized by means of autonomously controlled conveyor systems such as an industrial truck - for example, for products with a high weight such as a finished e-car battery. In addition to spacious production areas where autonomously controlled industrial trucks can move freely, this also means a flexible workplace concept with, for example, mobile workstations or workbenches.

Digitalized cooperation between companies Medium-sized companies usually cannot afford their own development department or the time and resources for the further development of electric car batteries that large companies have. This is where it makes sense to pool know-how, find competent partners for cooperation or join a network such as the German government's Mittelstand 4.0 competence center. However, it is not only SMEs that are looking for joint solutions, for example for faster industrialization of the electric powertrain, but also large companies such as Tesla and Panasonic are forming joint ventures in the area of further development of e-car batteries.

Together, scalable, modular solutions are being developed in all core technologies related to the e-vehicle. This requires a networked and smoothly functioning digital infrastructure among the partners so that data and data analyses can be exchanged efficiently and coordinated across processes in order to jointly improve and accelerate the entire manufacturing process in e-mobility through to series production. Depending on the product, the automation and intralogistics required by the various suppliers are integrated into the development process.

Conclusion

If you take a look at many companies and production facilities, it quickly becomes apparent that many processes still run in the conventional way and that many things are still controlled by human hands. Of course, this will not be completely avoided in the future, because humans will always have to intervene when technology fails or something does not work properly. Nevertheless, automation and. Nevertheless, the automation and digitalization of production processes, especially in the area of e-mobility, is the way of the future. This trend is also having a lasting impact on intralogistics. Fully automated warehouses are becoming more and more common. Here, a single control station is sufficient for complete monitoring and control, allowing both the capacity of the warehouse and, thanks to intelligent interfaces for sorting and shipping, the storage and output of the goods themselves to be controlled. In this way, goods availability and resource planning can be sustainably designed and optimized.

Since the digitization of production processes is a holistic change, production and intralogistics are merging in some respects. Processes are becoming shorter, clearer and less complicated. Thanks to digitalization, suppliers have the opportunity to serve the shorter production intervals on the part of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and thus provide sustainable relief. montrac® from montratec offers maximum flexibility, maximum configurability and scalability, and particularly high efficiency in production.

Thus it becomes clear: The transition of e-mobility to the upcoming mass production with simultaneous consideration of individual customer requirements cannot be realized without digitalization and automation in production. This requires modular production structures, networked intralogistics and production systems, and transport systems for a wide variety of products and throughputs within the same production and assembly line. In the digitized smart factory in the area of e-mobility, manufacturing products independently control the right assembly station at the right time via intelligent intralogistics systems - this enables not only flexible and thus faster but also cost-efficient production of e-vehicles.