Industry 4.0

Smart Factories in the Automotive Industry

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

The trend towards creating smart factories is on the rise. Especially the automotive sector invests large sums in smart factories.

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The automotive sector is making larger investments and setting higher targets for its digital manufacturing operations than any other sector.
( Source: Thinkstock )

“Industry 4.0 is more than just a flashy catchphrase. A confluence of trends and technologies promises to reshape the way things are made.” – Cornelius Baur and Dominik Wee, McKinsey & Company.

This statement is so true; the fourth industrial revolution i.e. Industry 4.0 comprises multiple segments such as Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and many more and has rightly transformed the traditional process of production. Due to this new automation level highly intricate, complex and customised products can be manufactured with ease. Some of the added advantages of adopting this current trend include savings of costs and time as well as producing high-quality products. Together, all these elements lead to the establishment of a smart factory.

Smart Factories On The Rise

According to a recent report by Capgemini the automotive sector is the most enthusiastic industry for setting up smart factories. The sector is making larger investments and setting higher targets for its digital manufacturing operations than any other sector. The report further adds that by the end of 2022, automotive manufacturers expect that 24 % of their plants will be smart factories and 49 % of automakers have already invested more than 250 million dollars in smart factories. Apart from this, 42 % of smart factory initiatives are struggling and the ones that are making the best progress are investing 2.5 times more than the companies that are struggling.

Live Examples In The Automotive Industry

BMW is planning to expand its largest automated production facility in South Carolina, USA for 1 billion dollars and further intends to invest 600 million dollars in the project. Another automotive giant, Audi has invested 1.3 billion dollars for building a smart factory in Mexico and American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has already reduced its 21-day production cycle down to only six hours! The smart factory process has enabled the company to reduce operating costs by 200 million dollars. All these real life examples show that the plus points of adopting the ‘smart factory’ concept are clearly visible.

This article was first published by MaschinenMarkt International.

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