Assembly in Action: Process Planning Improves Volvo’s Manufacturing Flexibility
In 2010, Volvo was acquired by Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group of China after being owned by Ford Motor Co. for 10 years. Beginning in 2011 and extending into 2015, Volvo plans to invest $10 billion globally in an aggressive product plan. The goal is to achieve sales of 800,000 cars by 2020 through a two-pronged strategy.
One part of the strategy is to establish China as the company’s second largest market behind the United States. As a result, Volvo plans to build new plants in Chengdu and Daqing, China.
The company projects the Chengdu plant to produce 100,000 cars annually beginning in 2013. Volvo plans to begin production of various models at Daqing in 2013 as well. Vehicles made there will include the XC60 crossover vehicle, with annual production capacity reaching up to 80,000 cars by 2015.
The other part of Volvo’s growth strategy is to operate flexible assembly lines that support multiple car models. Such assembly lines have proven very successful for many decades at Volvo’s plant in Torslanda, Sweden, which produces the V60, V70 and V80 vehicles.
Teamcenter and Tecnomatix process-development software help Volvo achieve that manufacturing flexibility. Both software products are made by Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc.
Teamcenter allows Volvo’s product developers and manufacturing engineers to collaborate and plan complex assembly lines. The software enables developers and engineers to easily manage data related to product variants, parts, users, product changes and process changes.
Volvo likes that Teamcenter links parts to tools and assembly processes, handles incremental changes and provides users with the latest product data. These capabilities enable Volvo to determine the impact of product and process changes across numerous car models.
Volvo uses several Teamcenter applications in the product-development process, including engineering process management, life cycle visualization and requirements management.
Tecnomatix enables Volvo to transfer a large amount of manufacturing knowledge to its Chinese operations. The software features several tools, such as Process Simulate and Robcad, which let Volvo manage, plan and simulate production processes.
At Torslanda, Process Simulate and Robcad are used to plan and simulate the body-in-white, final assembly and paint lines. Both tools feature a user-friendly interface.
With Process Simulate, Volvo can accurately simulate various scenarios within each robotic welding station on the body-in-white line—then download the programs to the actual robots.
Tecnomatix enables Volvo to assess the cost of a new assembly line early in the design process. This capability helps the program manager identify the most suitable design concept for meeting Volvo’s quality, capacity and cost targets.
The software also allows Volvo to easily change current assembly lines. For example, at the company’s plant in Ghent, Belgium, a battery insertion workstation had to be added to the final assembly line to produce an electric version of the C30 vehicle. Tecnomatix enabled Volvo to make the change quickly and cost-effectively.
For more information on process planning software, call 800-498-5351 or visit www.siemens.com/plm.