The automotive industry is at a turning point. Bloomberg estimates that by 2040, 54% of new vehicle sales will be electric. This means that a whole new approach is needed which is fast and smart. Electric vehicle manufacturers must shift processes and technology to serve these changing market needs. While consumers have time to consider switching from combustion to an electric vehicle, manufacturers have to prepare their automation strategy today for the future. Electric drivetrains and smart manufacturing systems have unlimited potential to automate vehicle production. While EVs have fewer mechanical parts, the evolution requires a large number of new electronic components, including the most expensive part of the vehicle – the electric battery.
We asked our experts to throw light on whether our country is ready for an automated EV manufacturing process and here is what they had to say…
Automobile Manufacturing processes normally have 4 Major Shops or areas i.e. (i) BIW/Welding Shop; (ii) Paint Shop; (iii) Assembly Shop and (iv) Testing Shop. Paint Shop in almost all Automobile Plants are automatic. Welding Assembly Shop and Testing area/shops consist of a combination of Automated and Manual processes depending on the requirements from 40% to 90% Automation level.
Indian Customer expectation has increased with world class car models like Audi, BMW, Citroen, MG etc widely available on Indian Road. Indian Automobile manufacturing Plants have critical problems like Fluctuation of demands from Market, Frequent Model/Plan change, difficulty in material handlings, slow speed of operators working on Line, Skill Gap like welding, painting, unrealistic demands from Workers Union, Local/Political interference, Consequences related to Injuries or fatal incidents.
The automated welding process ensures safety as well as stability in the production of vehicles. Maruti Suzuki India makes use of 5,000 robots at its Manesar and Gurgaon plants in Haryana. Almost all existing companies and new Automobile manufacturers implement Automation projects in the different shops. These projects are emerging out of productivity improvement Drives, consistency in Quality or more robust QMS (Quality Management system Development) drives, ensuring Error proofing systems, ease in material handlings, drives to eliminates unsafe conditions or Acts and also some of them are to tackle with different challenges coming out of variation in customer demands or frequent change in Production Plans. This is just the beginning, with India exploring the dimensions of Industry 4.0, MES etc one can expect a significant increase in the demand for industrial robots in the years to come.
By SUBHABRATA GHOSH – PRESIDENT, OPERATION, BATTRIXX
.Automation is not a new phenomenon by any means, and has been used by automotive OEMs in India to increase their productivity and overall output.
Even though the required number of components in EVs is fewer, the procedure to assemble these individual components is quite intricate and complex. Any kind of deviations or errors in the assembly process might pose a risk to the safety level of the vehicle, and hamper the process security of the assembly setup. For EVs, there is an uncertainty of requirement in terms of volume from the market, and the flexible manufacturing setups that are required to meet these changing demands are unavailable. Automation, powered by the solutions of the 4th Industrial revolution is completely capable of helping us combat these challenges faced during the production of EVs.
The key factor here is adoption of industry 4.0 enabled automation setups that cater to requirements specific to India. The objective of implementing automation for EV manufacturing is not only to increase productivity. The processes involved in manufacturing an electric vehicle require consistency in part build along with a high level of process security, and automation is the only way these can be achieved. Automation solutions that do not replace but instead empower our workforce have an immense potential in India, and implementation of these will help OEMs prepare for the coming rise in the electric vehicle market.
By HIMANSHU JADHAV – CEO, JENDAMARK INDIA
To read the stories in details, download the EMobility+ India Feb 2021 Magazine here: https://emobilityplus.com/2021/03/17/emobility-india-feb-2021-magazine/