Automotive supplier, Faurecia has spent USD 64 million on a digital manufacturing system for new plant in Columbus, United States. The factory which covers 400,000 square-feet and has the capacity to make 880 emissions control systems for commercial trucks on a daily basis was opened last year and is the most digitally advanced facility in Faurecia’s global network, according to David DeGraaf, president of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America. Though it is not fully automated factory, it is getting pretty close to full automation with 100 robots which can weld, move and scan components. 30 autonomous vehicles are used for the purpose of transporting materials around the building. The most important part of the upgrade though was the installation of 1.3 miles of fiber-optic cables.
The plant has been dubbed as Industry 4.0, and has state-of-the-art machinery with the capability to feed production data to the “lake”, a data storage system similar to a cloud, which is controlled by Faurecia.
Faurecia can monitor quality, spot potential issues and schedule maintenance based on this data so that there is minimum impact on production. The factory has a workforce of 450 employees, comprising mainly skilled workers to monitor the machinery.
“We require a different skill set to operate a plant,” DeGraaf said. “We have less direct labor, but more indirect labor. We are shifting from unskilled workers in manufacturing to the service industry.”
According to Rose Ryntz, vice president advanced development and material engineering for International Automotive Components, 4.0 principles are already being used for injection molding, when it comes to skin products for automotive interiors, the requirements are more complex. The process of adding a variety of skins, ranging from natural leathers to thermoplastic polyurethane and curved shapes is complicated.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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