Ford Motor Company in cooperation with Siemens plans to introduce virtual assembly plant technology. New application is called IntoSite™; it embraces Google Earth infrastructure, which allows users to navigate through 3D versions of actual Ford assembly plants, right down to individual workstations.
Ford engineers name this a major innovation, and a gripping step forward. IntoSite is being tested at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan for almost a year
Produce a Vehicle without Palpable Parts
You may wonder how a virtual assembly plant can produce a 3,000-lb. car. Making a 21st century vehicle slightly differs from heavy duty, hands-on auto assembly process. Automation and computers have been an integral part of the operation process for a long time. With plant virtualization taking those technologies their impact is amplified. Now engineers can build prototype or model before the physical parts are available.
Virtual Vehicle Models Underline Problems Early
Letting engineers to experiment with virtual parts and processes contributes to company efficiency. With new technology, engineers can shape different variations of how those vehicles can be designed, and they can play around with it without spending much money.
In a physical reality, resolving different issues can need more efforts and money whereas in virtual world trying something new is a seamless process.
Finding a defect with a virtual model and fixing it on the computer helps to be more productive and efficient as well as avoid cost downstream.
Technology Improves Communication
No matter how virtual and automated the process of vehicle manufacturing process has become, autos are made by humans. The better those humans communicate with each other, the better product they can create. IntoSite allows engineers to be connected with their global colleagues virtually travelling to assembly plants. The engineers from different parts of the world can collaborate inside simulation and don`t confine themselves to PowerPoint slides with vehicle images. Thanks to unified communications approach, issues can be addressed by co-workers across the world, information is shared in real time, and even trip costs could be cut down.
The IntoSite pilot is being refined and will be expanded in the future, changing the way one of the largest automakers brings its products to the consumers.