The concept of vehicles leapfrogging each other alongside the manufacturing line is not new on the planet of small-scale UK specialist automotive manufacturing.
However, that primarily entails our bodies mounted on wheeled “dollies” and pushed by workers to the subsequent meeting station.
Bentley’s 10,000-plus annual manufacturing has warranted a conveyor belt, however on the costly of flexibility — and infrequently revenue. The automaker believes the AGV system guarantees one of the best of each worlds.
Hallmark says Bentley is but to award provide contracts for the system, however robotics firm ABB is one chance. The Swiss agency is increasing its providing for automakers wanting related flexibility by making a system whereby meeting stations are changed with cells into which our bodies are introduced by AGVs.
Also changing conveyor belts with versatile cells is UK electrical van startup Arrival, which plans to run its system for the primary time later this 12 months as manufacturing begins in its first so-called “microfactory.” Its vans are moved cell-to-cell by AGVs, or what it calls AMRs (autonomous cellular robots).
“Because the AMRs don’t follow a predestined path, the order in which the technology cells are used is under software control and can be changed from vehicle to vehicle,” the corporate wrote in its annual report earlier this 12 months.
This means the corporate breaks the linear means of meeting and, like Bentley, will get to fluctuate the pace of manufacturing and optimize it for the mannequin being produced.
Arrival employed Italian automation specialist Comau for the design and simulation of its microfactory, it mentioned.
The firm’s vans have been specifically designed for the manufacturing facility course of, fairly than the opposite means round, which the corporate hopes will enhance productiveness by making the method less complicated. The proof can be within the firm’s first manufacturing van from its plant in Bicester, southern England, due within the third quarter.
The transformation happening in manufacturing is “underappreciated,” Magna International CEO Swamy Kotagiri mentioned.
“Automation and robotics are substantial parts of the business. They will impact how we run the factories and how the factories will look in the future,” Kotagiri, who leads the world’s fourth largest provider, instructed Automotive News Europe. “This big, big transformation will determine who is going to be successful in the future.”