Mass customisation may supersede mass production with automation
September 2, 2022 6:38 pm
EV battery makers need automation technology to cater with the growing demand for EVs.
Role of automation in mass customisation
Mass customisation gives a competitive edge by providing the user with the benefits like exclusivity, unique value and required features at affordable costs. This results in robust business growth and widespread market acceptance of innovations. Here, automation has a bigger role to play. It will help drive mass customisation by making the process easier to tailor products and services according to consumer demands and still make a profit out of it by mass customisation strategy combining low-cost and high-volume manufacturing. This will help to maintain equilibrium in the market where the big and small manufacturers can contribute and gain a market position with the targeted market share. Mass customisation has opened the need to invest more, overcome challenges, and meet consumer demands.
According to reports, mass customisation is also expected to replace mass production in specific manufacturing sectors. This holds effective for numerous operational businesses as mass customisation reduces the extended production time and wasteful expenditures. All these steps will help the OEMs to scrutinise more and apply innovations to their manufacturing system. Also, if we see some sectors, especially automobiles, have shifted their focus toward lean customisation and the buildto-order approach. Here, mass customisations are pretty distinct from lean customisation; it is observed that mass customisation can effectively reduce the total unit cost of many products while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of manufacturing facilities
Automation technology speeds up battery production with growing EVs manufacturing. Automation technology is hovering in the market with the growth in demand. Every manufacturer recognises the importance of technology and how innovations play a significant role in coping with any challenging situations. Here, EV battery makers need automation technology to cater with the growing demand for EVs. Battery production will need to lean on smart automation technology. The speed and efficiency challenges faced in battery production play right to the strengths of an integrated manufacturing ecosystem with an intelligent mechatronic transport system, machine centric robotics and machine vision working in sync with each other.
Instead of the traditional linear model, the mechatronic track system helps battery cells to move individually through a network of process stations and these stationary tasks are accomplished in motion at high speeds and thus accelerating many production steps as per recent reports, more and bringing order-of-magnitude gains in output per square meter of footprint. Also, demand for EV battery systems will skyrocket in the next few years. To keep up with exponential capacity growth, cycle times in battery cell production must be faster than for traditional automotive components.
Machine capabilities to take performance to the next level
Machines are the heart of any manufacturing process, and today’s machines do not have to be fast but intelligent as well – ‘Adaptive and Connected’. The primary catalyst that rules the manufacturing world nowadays is the data. Data is a crucial resource that helps manufacturers control every asset in their production facility. The data available from the machines can be used by the machine itself or other systems. This allows machines to adapt to situations and run automatically at different production speeds to match production demands. The smart machines capture various data like sensor data, process data, production statistics and vision data. All this data can be analysed using algorithms, which helps to increase machines’ performance. Not just this, even the diagnostic and maintenance data captured from machines and communicated in the form of different reports from time to time can safeguard from a potential breakdown in the future. This way, machine performance is taken up to the next level by creating more machine availability.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Unexpected machine downtime is one of the most challenging parts of manufacturing inefficiency. Production efficiency can be increased by eliminating production bottlenecks, implementing timely predictive maintenance, and switching to advanced technologies that help yield better results. Also, maintaining a healthy inventory and utilising energy resources properly can contribute to production efficiency. A manufacturer must deal with many crises amidst maintaining a healthy production ecosystem that helps him increase production efficiency and adapt to market fluctuations. With the market so volatile and demands increasing daily, the production efficiency is measured in terms of the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Thus, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) can play an essential role in making manufacturing assets more productive as a comprehensive performance indicator.
However, difficulties gathering the data needed to calculate OEE have often prevented it from being used to improve older brownfield systems. Now, there are solutions in the market that let you quickly tap into the operational data of digitally isolated equipment and benefit from automated acquisition,harmonisation, and analysis, including real-time OEE monitoring. Connected manufacturing systems with access to the latest technology can collect and evaluate extensive technical and operational data to implement the type of solutions envisioned for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things.
Innovation practices for product tracking
B&R has always been a pioneer of innovation and a partner to all OEMs who help combat market fluctuations. ACOPOStrak, SUPERtrak and Acopos 6D are revolution in adaptive manufacturing. These highly flexible transport systems extend the economy of mass production down to batches of one. Parts and products are transported quickly and flexibly from the processing station to the station on independently controlled shuttles. The unique designs of the above products from the basket of B&R innovations deliver decisive technological advantages for adaptive, connected manufacturing that helps produce small batches efficiently and benefit from the higher margins of personalised products. Also, the machine vision cameras under the B&R Vision portfolio can be found in many manufacturing systems used for controlling processes, sorting products, or performing quality inspections.
However, the vital role played by lighting in helping these cameras achieve precise and repeatable results. These are some of the innovations that add to efficiency in production during product tracking. We believe adaptation to new technologies helps curb market demands, and analysing the machine-generated data for better results gives a new edge to a positive approach towards growth.