Mobile Computers Keep Air Bag Assembly at Peak Efficiency
Saving as many lives as possible through its many different automotive safety products is the lone goal of Autoliv. Besides being the world’s largest air bag manufacturer—with 41 percent market share in 2015—Autoliv develops and manufactures passive and active safety systems. The former include modules and components for passenger and driver-side air bags, side-impact air bags, seat belts, steering wheels, safety electronics, whiplash protection and child seats. Active safety systems range from radars and camera-based vision, to brake controls.
Autoliv is a huge company, with more than 80 manufacturing and storage facilities in 29 countries, and nearly 60,000 employees. More than a decade ago, management began focusing on ways to standardize the tools,
production and logistic processes at all European plants. Step one was to implement the Lawson M3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Although the system provided helpful tools for supply chain management, forecasting and capacity scheduling, it was only compatible with one model of mobile computer (handheld scanner) from one supplier. Over time, this computer failed to perform well in logistics environments and was incapable of supporting JAVA applications.
Managers at Autoliv then met with Groupe Prisme, a well-established systems integrator to discuss a replacement computer. Prisme suggested the Viper model from Datalogic S.p.A. due to its robustness, high performance, autonomy and battery accessibility. To further enhance the computer’s appeal, Datalogic developed and certified a specific Java Virtual Machine layer for the unit, and personalized its operating system to fit Autoliv’s applications. These features enable each Viper to provide more than seven years of service.
This type of portable computer is used by workers at the end of assembly lines to register production and make sure that each product coming off the line is put in the correct box with the correct label. The computer enters the captured data in the ERP system and confirms that the boxes have been put on the right pallet with the right label in the right location. After each pallet is loaded onto the truck, a warehouse operator uses another computer to make sure that the product gets shipped to the appropriate customer.
In late 2013, Autoliv installed a new ERP system from SAP and began looking for one or more compatible computers. Group Prisme recommended three models from Datalogic: the Falcon X3, Skorpio X3 and Memor. Over the last 3 years or so, Autoliv has deployed more than 600 of these models throughout the company’s European plants.
Stéphane Cazat, ERP implementation leader in Europe for Autoliv, says the devices have significantly increased productivity and reduced errors. Equally important, they enable Autoliv to more quickly detect and correct an error before it affects production and customer service.
“Regardless of ERP, [the] computers provide an important contribution to [our] work efficiency,” says Cazat. “Their use in coming years will increase [because] our products save lives and Datalogic contributes to this objective.”
To reduce maintenance costs over the long term, Autoliv plant managers in Europe purchase a five-year maintenance contract for each computer. For more information on mobile computers, call 514-683-5700 or visit