Implementation cases

Combining research challenges with industrial usefulness​

Whilst we work on challenging research questions, we also strive for beneficial solutions to make our research useful for the industry. Here are some examples of what we have implemented in recent years.

1) GKN Aerospace Engine Systems: Functional Architecture Evaluation

Research theme: Platform-based Development

Industrial need

GKN Aerospace and Chalmers are two of some 35 partners within the European aerospace and PLM SW industries engaged in the EU project TOICA. The TOICA consortium needs new methods and IT tools to conduct collaborative novel aircraft architecture design.

Implementation and impact

TOICA has chosen to implement the object oriented platform development methodology and IT tool CCM, developed by the Systems Engineering & Product Lifecycle Management research group for pre-embodiment functional architecture design and evaluation. 

This will enable partners in TOICA to  have a system model with its subsystems and their inter-dependencies already in the pre-embodiment stage to conduct consequence analysis (What if?) and traceability studies to enable trade-off studies between architectural options using DSM and Axiomatic Design analyses, and from the embodiment stage by means of system performance analysis and optimization.


Henrik Runnemalm

"GKN Aerospace (former Volvo Aero) are moving from the position of a component supplier to a supplier of systems. This new role put totally new demands on our ability to design and manufacture with short lead time and high precision in cost and quality.  The Functional Architecture proposed by Wingquist Laboratory looks very promising for linking different design aspects and allows for consequence and sensitivity analyses and future multi-criteria optimization, says Henrik Runnemalm, Director of Advanced Engineering at GKN Aerospace Engine Systems."























2) Volvo Group Trucks Technology: PDM Configurator

Research theme: Platform-based Development

Industrial need

Product variants are described with configuration rules stored in in-house developed Product Data Management (PDM) systems. The development process for configuration rules has been time-consuming and error-prone, as the configuration rules previously have required complicated manual computations. Volvo GTT and others have expressed a need to find automated alternatives.

Implementation and impact

Volvo GTT has implemented the PDM configurator developed by the Systems Engineering & Product Lifecycle Management and Automation research groups. This has enabled automation of previously manual complicated computations. The benefit of doing this automation is a more time-efficient development process and fewer human errors. Development tasks that took days/weeks can now be done in minutes.


Elna Holmberg

"The competition within automotive industry is constantly increasing, which requires shorter lead times and faster product cycles. To be competitive Volvo Group Trucks Technology needs to shorten the development by using well customized CAE tools. The new PDM Configurator, developed within Wingquist Laboratory will enable us to cut time and cost by much more efficient management of all our product variants, says Elna Holmberg, Research Leader, Volvo Group Trucks Technology."















3) Atlas Copco: Geometry Assurance Process

Research theme: Smart Assembly

Industrial need

For the business area Atlas Copco Rock Drills, a major problem has been to secure the geometrical quality and assembleability. The production is characterized by fairly low volumes and a large number of unique variants. When the project started, no general, documented working procedure for geometry assurance existed. However, some basic design and assembly concepts were used/reused in many product variants. For Atlas Copco, the purpose of the project was to understand the individual steps in their own product realization process, identify the critical tasks and define a general process for geometry assurance that could be adapted to a wide range of products.

Implementation and impact

The process was established through a number of workshops with researchers from Wingquist Laboratory and engineers at Atlas Copco. During the project, engineers from Atlas Copco went through training courses in RD&T and basic GD&T. They applied knowledge gained from the courses on a number of case studies (based on company problems) with support from researchers from Wingquist Laboratory.


Mats Källman"As a producer of equipment for drilling and rock excavation in small customized series in an increased global competition, there are tasks and activities of more generic type that needs to be standardized and made more efficient. The geometry assurance process, developed in collaboration with Wingquist Laboratory, will give us better focus on the general steps in the development chain that are critical for the quality of the final product, says Mats Källman, VP Engineering Services, Atlas Copco Rock Drills"



 













4) Volvo Car Group: Line Balancing and Path Planning

Research theme: Smart Assembly

Industrial need

Complex assembled products such as an automotive car body consists of about 300 sheet metal parts joined by up to 4000 spot welds. Sheet metal assembly is indeed investment intense and in the body factory, there are welding lines with several hundreds of robots. The balancing of welds has a significant influence on achievable production rate and equipment utilization. Robot line balancing is a complex problem, where each weld is to be assigned to a specific station and robot, such that line cycle time is minimized. Industrial robot line balancing has been manually conducted in computer aided engineering (CAE)-tools based on experience and trial and error rather than mathematical methods.

Implementation and impact

In Stage 2 and 3, methods and algorithms for automatic line balancing and path planning of stud and spot welding lines, partly developed within the centre, have been packaged into the IPS software. 

The software is fully implemented at Volvo Car Group and has also been used during the planning of the new car body plant in Volvo Torslanda. The benefits of the new method when benchmarked to previous methods are 75% faster commissioning and 25% improvements in cycle time or equipment utilization. Also, successful studies at Scania and Volvo Group Trucks Technology have been carried out with results of similar efficiency improvements.


Anders Carlsson"The industry generally, and the automotive industry especially, is under a lot of pressure. Cars are probably the most complex mass-produced or mass-customized product. The environmental legislation and the consumer market are changing rapidly, which put strong demands on the OEM’s to have processes in place to swiftly adapt and launch new products. Virtual product- and process development is a key enabler for competitiveness. Therefore, strong innovation is needed to further strengthen the industry. The automatic path planning and line balancing technology implemented in IPS has been an important software tool to save time, reduce risk and optimize robot equipment utilization for new Volvo Car models, says Anders Carlsson, Senior Advisor, Volvo Car Group."





















5) Volvo Car Group: Inspection Preparation & OLP for Scanning

Research theme: Smart Assembly

Industrial need

Fast and efficient inspection is important both for securing geometrical quality and cutting lead time in the plant. Within Wingquist Laboratory one research group is focusing on geometry assurance and one group is focusing on geometry and motion planning. During Stage 2, these two research groups collaborated to develop methods and algorithms for inspection planning for efficient geometry inspection and offline programing (OLP). The solution resulted in approximately 25% faster programs for coordinate measure machines (CMMs) and up to 90% shortened offline programing time for creating the programs. The result was implemented at Volvo Cars based on the software packages RD&T and IPS.

Implementation and impact

In Stage 3, this functionality was also implemented at International Automotive Company (IAC) and National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs). In stage 3, the solution for inspection preparation has been enhanced now covering also support for scanning using laser equipment. This new functionality has been tested and implemented by Volvo Cars.The implementation has resulted in more flexibility for inline inspection in the new body in white factory in Torslanda, Sweden.

 

Carl Angervall"The trend towards customization with more and more product variants puts high demands on the ability to inspect and verify the whole range of products in an efficient way. With the new functionality for inspection preparation & OLP for scanning, developed within Wingquist Laboratory and implemented in RD&T/IPS, we are able to cut time and cost, and still handle an increased range of products, says Carl Angervall, Senior Manager Geometry Program & Development, Volvo Car Group."



















6) Volvo Car Group: Virtual Commissioning Including PLC

Research Theme: Smart Assembly

Industrial need

Volvo Car Group has together with Wingquist Laboratory identified the need of a completely integrated work chain from virtual preparation, including automatically generated PLC code, to virtual and physical commissioning. Having such an integrated work chain, involving software tools for optimization and verification, achieves sustainable production facilities which are adaptable to future requirements on flexibility, availability, product variety, and human safety.

Implementation and impact

An implementation of a virtual preparation and commissioning methodology (VPCM) is currently performed at Volvo Cars including: 1) PLC program preparation in early project phases, in order to achieve accurate estimations on performance such as cycle time, 2) development of working procedures for VPCM, and 3) investigation of the required workload for performing a VPCM and estimation of its benefits.

The results of this implementation show that it is possible to reduce PLC program implementation time by at least 50%. In addition, it is shown that energy consumption of the production processes can be reduced by up to 25%. 


Stefan Axelsson"To continue being competitive in the automotive business, Volvo Car Group needs to reduce lead times in future production with up to 50%. Together with Wingquist Laboratory, we have then identified an integrated virtual preparation and commissioning methodology as an important enabler for future development of robot systems. Our collaboration with Wingquist Laboratory is crucial in achieving this virtual development process, says Stefan Axelsson, Technical Specialist, Controls & Robotics, Volvo Car Group."

 
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Published: Mon 11 Aug 2014. Modified: Mon 12 Jun 2017