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Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive Industry

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Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive Industry

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Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive Industry

Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive Industry Abstract. Strong competition on the global automotive market is forcing car manufacturers rethink their strategic approach to manufacturing. In order to be competitive, companies need to manufacture variety of new car models at the lowest cost. This requires manufacturing systems to be flexible to accommodate product variations and economically viable. Automotive industry has been traditionally highly automated and not particularly flexible in terms of final products. Despite many developments in the area of flexible manufacturing systems, they could not reach their potential, especially in the final car assembly, mainly due to high system complexity, which also results in high costs of automation. A balanced combination of manual and automated processes increases flexibility, reduces manufacturing costs, provides high quality and throughput. In the view of the above, an optimal level of automation of manufacturing systems can only be obtained if all relevant aspects of the manufacturing process are taken into account and optimum levels in terms of cost, productivity, quality and flexibility are reached as proposed in the methodology of the Fraunhofer Institute. This approach was applied for analysis of the final car assembly lines at Volkswagen AG.

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