Material handling in the automotive industry has witnessed several changes over the years. Owing to these changes, the production and output levels have scaled up nearly ten times over the past three decades. Also, companies in the automotive industry are employing advanced R&D programs that focus on reimagining what the next gen automobile manufacturing plants will look like in a world that is connected and data-driven and supported by rapid production systems.
The automotive industry faces several challenges such as market saturation and overcapacity, international competition, increasing variability between car models driven by shorter time-to-market demands, and a changing regulatory environment. We are stepping into a new era of automotive manufacturing that relies on “smart” factories. And these “smart” factories will require an entirely different approach to material handling equipment and systems to make new types of production possible. Here are the top four material handling trends that are all set to revamp the way players in the automotive industry do business:
Material Handling Trends in the Automotive Industry
Today’s assembly lines rely on rigid, single-purpose machines. These modern assembly lines are based on modular or linear production. However, the demand in the automotive industry is highly dynamic and fluctuating from time to time. When there is a change in market demand, it consequently requires the production line to respond to these changes. Companies in the automotive industry who want to be quick in adapting to the changing demands will need to have flexible material handling equipment. Flexible production will require several changes including faster time-to-market for new concepts, a production floor responsive to customer behavior and market demands, and 24/7 production.
In the automotive industry, material handling is already highly automated. With the progress in the digital age, increase in connectivity between applications and decentralized solutions will result in automation being developed further. With fully connected and decentralized material handling, technical support across various vendors and suppliers become much more accessible and standardized. By establishing 360-degree connectivity, automotive players can gain transparent production system analysis and easy optimization, more flexible machine parameters, and servicing can be done on a communication network or mobile device.
Total process simulation
Most of the new manufacturing or assembly design projects in the automotive industry are supported by simulation. Material handling components put parts, fasteners, and finished products in motion, therefore, play a significant role in simulating everything from complete factories to single processes. However, total process simulation requires large amounts of data but several suppliers might not be in the position to provide information in the form that can be integrated into the simulation tool. Therefore, companies must choose suppliers that can best optimize a simulated process. Total process simulation offers benefits such as more accurate and reliable planning, improved ROI, and flexible adaptations and modifications before a design is implemented.
The automotive industry on the lookout for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency and anything that helps do so will likely play a vital role in the industry’s future. Energy efficiency is an ongoing goal for material handling. Automotive companies and their suppliers use a host of methods to reduce energy consumption and including energy calculations to reduce the odds of buying oversized equipment, adopting optimized logistics, and using energy-efficient components. Energy efficiency provides the automotive industry players with the following advantages – Reduce energy consumption and associated costs, promote carbon-neutral production and make plans accurate and reliable by defining the energy consumption of the new project.