Audi modernizes its production line with virtual reality and 3D scanning

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MANILA: Audi is implementing a fully networked, highly efficient and sustainable production system.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • What modern features is Audi adding to its production line?

    Audi uses modular assembly, virtual reality, creation of virtual car prototypes and 3D scanning of assembly lines and cars. The 3D scans serve as an Audi model for production.

  • What is modular assembly?

    With modular assembly, Audi is first putting the idea into practice in the pre-assembly of the interior door panels at the Ingolstadt plant. The work of the test operation no longer occurs in a set order. Instead, it fills in some gaps. AGVs, or Automated Guided Vehicles, deliver the door panels directly to the station where the parts are assembled.

  • “We use synergies and look at production as a whole – from the worker to the fully automated cycle,” said Gerd Walker, member of Audi’s production and logistics management board.

    In the Audi Production Lab, the team of project manager Wolfgang Kern prepares the modular assembly for mass production.

    With modular assembly, Audi is first putting the idea into practice in the pre-assembly of the interior door panels at the Ingolstadt plant. The work of the test operation no longer occurs in a set order. Instead, it fills in some gaps. AGVs, or Automated Guided Vehicles, deliver the door panels directly to the station where the parts are assembled.

    The modular assembly can be connected to particular industrial processes. For example, a person can easily install full sun visors. Due to predetermined processing times in an assembly line, this previously required two or three people. Audi is able to hire people who are no longer able to work on the line due to physical restrictions, thanks to the flexible system.

    Audi production

    Virtual representations make it easy and quick to compare the many designs and equipment options of a model in various settings and lighting. One of the critical goals is to get the design into production with as few cuts as possible and deliver it to customers as soon as possible.

    To do this, specialists examine design drafts from the early development stage of a model until the release of tools to determine whether they can be reproduced in series production. From the data, Audi can build the finished product.

    Audi is able to display an automobile in its real size thanks to Powerwalls. Cars can be represented accurately and with calculations for physical light, shadow, and reflection when used in conjunction with the Visualization Cluster, a computing cluster with a total of 26,000 processors.

    Audi is increasingly using head-mounted displays in addition to powerwall visualization. The main advantage of this approach is that it allows professionals to view virtual models from the customer’s point of view.

    Audi production

    Audi simulates the body in 3D on the exterior of the automobile so that the impacts of component and assembly tolerances can be seen in the visual of the car. Virtual reality is then used to provide a realistic visualization of the simulation results.

    As a result, Audi Manufacturing specialists can, for the first time, influence the design and development process from the production site, regardless of time or location, almost at no additional cost.

    In addition to saving hardware resources, virtual assembly planning enables creative and adaptable collaboration across multiple sites. It eliminates the need to create prototypes during the planning phase. Three-dimensional point clouds created by scanning can be used for digital reverse engineering of machinery and infrastructure.

    The Spot robot dog is currently being tested by Audi and NavVis so that they can complete the 3D scans as quickly as possible. Thirteen factories and approximately four million square meters have been impacted since the start of site digitization in 2017.

    Audi production

    In a single-team environment, scanning an area of ​​100,000 square meters, such as the Audi A6 production plant in Neckarsulm, takes about three weeks. Only evenings or weekends are available for scanning. Additionally, structural obstructions such as steps and doorways complicate the scanning process.

    Audi’s Spot robot dog scans and copies the workshop, conveyor technology, tools, shelves and containers alongside the new Audi model.

    Today, Audi is looking for new ideas for future digital production

    At the educational site in Heilbronn, Audi is working closely with the Technical University of Munich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization ((IAO)) on digitalization.

    Audi’s Automotive Initiative 2025 (AI25) aims to create the first global knowledge network for innovation and transformation of the digital factory. AI25 sees itself as a thought leader and a crucial part of the digital journey. Audi’s Neckarsulm plant will be a key part of the Volkswagen Group’s digital transition as a pilot plant.

    Audi also uses its production laboratory in Gaimersheim to source cutting-edge technologies and successfully integrate them into production processes.

    Audi Pictures

    Also read: Audi Sport celebrates the 20th anniversary of the RS 6

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