Industry 4.0

The automotive industry today is focused heavily on digitalization in automation technology to achieve substantial improvements in productivity and production quality. The ultimate goal is the creation of an autonomous production environment or so called smart factory. This vision is driven by the promise of many substantial benefits: self-correcting, intelligent production lines which make necessary in-line process adjustments automatically to ensure zero failure production (zero production scrap), maximum productivity and up-time (no unplanned production equipment down-times), as well as lowest production costs and optimal production flexibility.

Considering today’s typical stamping and BiW assembly engineering and production operations, there are still quite a number of process chain aspects which are not digitally visible or which are not digitally connected. Some activities, such as manual adjustments to a tool surface during the tool tryout process or using different quality assurance systems in CAD/CAE/CAM processes and production, are not even computerized or synchronized.

In order to implement Industry 4.0 successfully, an overall strategy is required which aims to integrate digitalization along the entire process chain and involves all activities at all levels. This will need to be a joint effort made by the entire automotive eco-system including automotive companies but also all supply chains, i.e. for hardware, software, parts, sub-assemblies and services.

AutoForm offers state-of-the-art technology which enables process and production engineers to gain deep insights into the forming and BiW assembly processes they plan, design, engineer and optimize. The finite element approach used by AutoForm to model the physics of the forming and joining processes allows for the creation of full process transparency. As a result, the causalities which have an impact on the final process results, i.e. the stamped part or the assembled group of parts, are revealed. Understanding exactly which part and process features have an impact on the final result allows AutoForm users to reliably predict the process outcome and to design processes which meet all time, quality and cost requirements.

Furthermore, the results of stochastic AutoForm analyses are already used by many customers to advise, accelerate and optimize tryout and production operations. These pave the way for a full cyber-physical system integration where software and hardware (e.g. stamping press lines) are directly connected to achieve a fully automated production environment. With AutoForm software, users are equipped with a powerful software platform for stamping and BiW assembly processes, which enables implementation of Industry 4.0 in the press and body shops.