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Metrology System Drives Precise Automated Flexible Manufacturing

Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and Industry 4.0 are just some of the key trends and technologies that are shaping the automotive industry today. Automation clearly plays a key role in manufacturing, but what are the challenges faced when traditional automated manufacturing is met with modern-day dynamic requirements?

INSPHERE’s recently published white paper analyses how automated processes could adapt and evolve with the support from new technology. It explores ways in which manufacturers can stay up to date with modern-day demands and realise the full potential of flexible automation.

Industry 4.0 and Automation

The integration of Industry 4.0 principles, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics, is transforming automotive manufacturing. Smart factories are being developed where interconnected systems and machines communicate, monitor, and optimize production processes in real-time. Automation plays a significant role in enhancing efficiency, precision, and productivity. Robotic systems are being used for tasks such as assembly, welding, painting, and quality control, while AI and data analytics help optimize production planning. The future of automotive manufacturing is dynamic and now more than ever, subject to continuous evolution as new technologies, demands and regulations emerge. The industry needs more flexibility to be able to rapidly evolve and meet the demands of a changing world.

Flexible Automation Is The Answer – In Theory 

Manufacturers are increasingly turning to flexibility and customisation to remain competitive, offer tailored consumer preferences, and meet market demands. Automation plays a significant role in enabling this including: Reconfigurable Production Lines, Modular Assembly, Agile Production Planning, Mass Customisation, Customer Interaction and Personalisation. By incorporating automation into the manufacturing process, automotive manufacturers can achieve a higher level of flexibility and customisation while maintaining efficiency and quality. Advanced automated systems enable rapid adaptation to changing market demands, agile production planning, and the efficient integration of diverse components and options. As a result, manufacturers can offer a broader range of personalised vehicles to better align with customer preferences and enhance customer satisfaction.

Metrology Unlocks Full Potential of Automated Flexible Manufacturing

Automation and flexibility have become crucial elements in modern manufacturing, enabling companies to adapt to changing market demands and achieve higher levels of efficiency. However, trying to solve modern demands with traditional robot technology alone is riddled with pitfalls. One way to fully capitalise on the benefits of automated flexible manufacturing, is to integrate a robust metrology system into the blueprint of the production line to monitor robot performance and make alignment and positional corrections based on the configuration at any given time, rather than relying on an accurate, fixed configuration that doesn’t change. This can therefore increase the flexibility and performance of the manufacturing system.

IONA, from INSPHERE, is a scalable network of sensors providing metrology-grade data for industrial robots. It is a critical enabler of flexible manufacturing, adding value to the process at three key stages, Commissioning, Process Performance, Process Monitoring.

In summary the expectation on automotive manufacturers to be more dynamic and flexible to meet market demands is only set to increase. When new technologies are embraced, the full potential of automated, flexible manufacturing can be realised, providing the solution to many of the challenges faced by car manufacturers of today. With IONA built into the blueprint of a production line, the pitfalls otherwise found with trying to automate commissioning, process performance and process control, can be mitigated enabling manufacturers to
remain competitive, efficient, and adaptable.

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