The buying public is predicted to be buying less vehicles in 2020. The need to trim the fat is a common theme amongst automakers these days. At Volkswagen, the process has already started.
Volkswagen Group is moving forward with a new cloud-based tracking program called the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud. The company linked the first three of its plants in 2019 in Chemnitz, Wolfsburg, and Polkowice (Poland).
“In 2020, we intend to bring the Cloud to 15 further plants,” says Gerd Walker, Head of Production, Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen Group will integrate its technology across the world.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
That list of plants includes those assembling vehicles for the Audi, Seat, Skoda, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands. These include the plants at Brunswick, Emden, Hanover, Ingolstadt, Kassel, Leipzig, Neckarsulm, Salzgitter, Zuffenhausen and Zwickau (all in Germany), Martorell (Spain), Palmela (Portugal), Györ (Hungary), and Mladá Boleslav and Vrchlabi (Czech Republic).
“We are making good progress and significantly forcing the pace,” says Roy Sauer, Head of Enterprise and Platform Architecture, Volkswagen Group.
The Industrial Cloud is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Siemens is the integration partner.
As part of their 10-year plan (2016-2025), Volkswagen intestines to boost the productivity of their plants by 30 percent and “our Industrial Cloud will be a key lever for achieving this objective,” says Walker.
The first step of the plan included identifying 15 different applications that could be made available as standardized apps for all of the Volkswagen Group plants. Those apps focus on the predictive maintenance of machines and the reduction of reworking on vehicles by using artificial intelligence.
The apps record input from “several hundred thousand machines and plant items” according to Volkswagen. That data is analyzed by the apps. The systems all must be connected manually. Some older machines require a sensor to be installed. VW says, ” In the final stage of development, the total quantity of information to be processed each day will correspond to the volume of data from a small town in Germany.”
At present, 220 workers are dedicated to the project. By the end of the year, that number is expected to rise to 500.
The systems being developed by Volkswagen are being made available to other companies as part of an open ecosystem. Development will then continue together in partnership with those companies. There is no specific focus on the automotive sector.
According to a release, Volkswagen expects to save several billion euros when the data of all 124 plants can be evaluated in a standardized way. By implementing these first apps, the company is already expected to save €200 million.