Volkswagen has announced plans to connect its NA production facilities in Chattanooga (TN), Puebla and Silao (Mexico) with the global Industrial Cloud initiative from the Volkswagen Group and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The Industrial Cloud is an IT industrial platform, designed to gather and analyze data from all connected Volkswagen Group facilities on a real-time basis to help increase efficiency and productivity. Volkswagen’s three North American plants are the first outside Europe to be networked with the Industrial Cloud.
As early as spring 2021, Chattanooga, Puebla and Silao could access standardized software applications that are available for all factories in the Volkswagen Group connected to the Industrial Cloud. This approach is comparable to an app store. The scope of the applications is constantly expanding, and Volkswagen in the North American Region is currently working on 51 projects. Connected locations could go without costly and time-consuming individual IT developments and have access to tested, ready-to-use applications.
“This is a big and critical step for our digital transformation as we work to apply the knowledge gained from one of the largest vehicle production networks in the world to our facilities in the U.S. and Mexico”, said Johan de Nysschen, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen Group of America. “We want to manufacture vehicles even more efficiently and sustainably, and the Industrial Cloud helps us do that.”
To date, available applications connected to the Industrial Cloud focus on predictive maintenance of machines and systems. Chattanooga and Puebla will be able to optimize various maintenance cycles by analyzing streams of data, which can help reduce downtime in vehicle manufacturing processes, and can result in lower costs. Another advantage is the reduction of potential rework on vehicles through the use of algorithms. At the Chattanooga plant, the use of a shop floor reporting system is being tested, which can enable the factory to increase machine utilization by recognizing potential disturbance variables before they occur.
“We want to leverage the potential of digital technology in production and work closely with our colleagues on the shop floor,” said Susanne Lehmann, Senior Director Production NAR, Volkswagen de México, and responsible for onboarding the North American plants. “By bringing the individual know-how of the locations into our Industrial Cloud Initiative, we can optimize their production processes and at the same time, expand the scope of high-performance applications available for all factories more quickly.”
The Industrial Cloud will link all of the Volkswagen Group’s global factories, and, in a second step, its suppliers, simplifying the exchange of data across systems and plants. This collaboration will leverage AWS technologies in the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), data analytics, and computing services, tailored by Volkswagen to meet its special requirements. Both companies will also combine and adhere to their strict IT security standards for the transmission of data. Siemens AG is also an integration partner for Volkswagen Group.
“We’re delighted to see continued expansion of the Industrial Cloud across more Volkswagen Group production facilities globally this year,” said Dirk Didascalou, Vice President of IoT, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Working with Volkswagen, we developed functionality that makes it easy to connect plants to the Industrial Cloud and is helping innovators across Volkswagen accelerate the delivery of use cases that further improve the efficiency of Volkswagen’s manufacturing and logistics processes.”
The Volkswagen Group has already networked 18 European plants with the Industrial Cloud since the end of 2019. The three Volkswagen locations in North America are expected to be connected by the end of the year. Chattanooga currently produces the Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs, the Volkswagen Passat sedan and will be the central hub for the production of electric vehicles in North America; Puebla manufactures several high-volume models, such as the Tiguan, Jetta and upcoming Taos SUV. The Silao plant produces engines for Volkswagen and Audi models.