Based on Atlas Copco Joining division’s requirements, WMG has developed a Self Piercing Rivet (SPR) delivery system. The fully autonomous system was the result of the integration of two flexible automation components, namely a MiR 200 Autonomous Guided Vehicle (AGV) and UR 10 collaborative robot arm, which had never been achieved before. The technical aspects of the project focused on the mechanical, electrical and control software integration of the two main systems and on the implementation of a vision based precision positioning algorithm that allows to fully automate the process of delivering and refilling Atlas Copco SPR stations. The project covered all aspects of development of modern industry 4.0 systems and made use of state of the art technologies such as embedded IoT system development, integration architectures, additive layer manufacturing (custom gripper and other mechanical parts), real-time control of multiple process parameters. The implementation of the near production ready Autonomous Rivet Dispensing System was completed in three months by applying agile working methods to the implementation of complex flexible automation systems. The project result was approved at executive level by Atlas Copco global CTO and is used to drive engagement with JLR, a key customer of Atlas Copco Joining division. The system is currently in operation at Atlas Copco Exhibition Centre in Deeside
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The SmartHort Automation Challenge will match WMG, engineering experts at the University of Warwick, with a UK business to develop an applied solution to a real problem in horticultural production.
The overall aim of the project is to identify and subsequently design and implement a new form of automation system in horticulture and to evaluate its performance. An applied approach will be adopted, engaging with producers and targeting the identification and implementation of a suitable automation system to be tested and evaluated within the scope of the project. The intended approach in this project is to study the applicability of a range of potential automation technologies and methods in the horticultural domain. A practical approach is to be adopted with the objective of selecting and implementing a solution within 24 months, which will be demonstrated either at a grower's location or at the University of Warwick, depending on the type of application selected for the main project. Subsidiary ideas will also be pursued by being offered as student projects to undergraduate or Masters students at WMG.
SSM – Smart Seat-Manufacturing
The focus of the SSM project is to develop a novel solution for the monitoring and validation of manual operations during car seat assembly processes. The monitoring of the various manual operations required to achieve the assembly of the many components and sub-systems that compose modern car seats is essential in ensuring product quality from both the aesthetic and functional perspectives. The SSM project focuses on developing tool tracking solutions that allow safety critical operations (e.g. airbag, seat belt buckle and pre-tensioning systems), as well as quality critical operations (e.g. leather cover fitting) to be monitored and systematically validated.
LSM - Lear Seat Manufacturing
The LSM project is introducing smart manufacturing techniques to improve the quality and productivity in automotive seat production. It is applying digitalisation to quality control and automating key processes within seat manufacture. It represents a multi-million-pound investment for Lear in collaboration with the Catapult Centre at WMG. The team at WMG is composed of members of both the automation systems and visualisation groups.
DIGIMAN – Digital Manufacturing for Fuel Cell Assembly
DigiMan is a €3.5 million EU funded programme within which WMG is working together with Intelligent Energy, Freudenberg, Pretexo, CEA Tech, and Toyota Motor Europe. The project is utilising the latest techniques in digital manufacture and automation in stack production processes to create a state of the art PEM fuel cell assembly process for zero emission automotive vehicles
AMPLiFII 2 – Automated Module-to-Pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation
Through a £14 million collaborative investment led by WMG, the AMPLiFII project has created a manufacturing facility for battery modules and packs at Warwick University. Phase 1 of this project has now been successfully completed. From an automation perspective, phase 2 is focused on production line modelling, simulation and data collection. This is enabling the system to support associated Industry 4.0 proving activities, e.g. via the creation of electronic work instructions, digital process validation and analytics. The facility will have a ‘digital twin’ enabling line process flow and performance modelling and analysis.
Smart Digital Manufacturing
A set of integrated research and development activities focused around Smart Digital Manufacturing (SDM) is being supported by the WMG Catapult Centre. These projects are developing Industry 4.0 related capabilities in a set of specific areas. The outputs of this activity are both targeting skills and training and delivering prototype systems to a range of commercial partners. The current SDM project areas are as follows.
AGV-based Product & Materials Handling
This project is investigating the application of autonomous indoor vehicles to assembly automation and related logistics activities. In collaboration with Henrob, Atlas Copco, Lear, and other partners, we are investigating the use of guided vehicles for the line-side supply of components. This typically involves the integration of robotic handling systems with guided vehicles to create the necessary product delivery systems, which in turn need to be integrated with the relevant automation and warehousing systems.
Analytics & Key Performance Indicators
A detailed study is being carried out involving a number of partners to optimise the application of data collection and analytics for smart factories. This project involves connectivity and integration with physical production lines and the analysis of good quality data in order to provide new insights into production systems and optimize their performance.
VueOne Engineering Tools
The VueOne engineering toolset provides support for process planning and control code deployment to a range of control systems. It is being applied to pilot production systems within WMG as well as commercial projects related to process planning and cycle time optimisation.
Automated Bearing Assembly
A commercial project with SKF is looking into novel methods for the automated assembly of precision bearings used in high-performance automotive and aerospace applications. In a wider context this project is looking at the application of an Industry 4.0 approach in the context of such low-volume precision manufacture.
Digital Manufacturing Strategy
The Automation Systems Group are actively involved in a range of projects related to future manufacturing strategy both via HVM Catapult and the Digital for Industry (D4I) working group.
Digitalised Manufacturing and Automation in Steel Production
There is a significant need for the application of automation and related smart manufacturing techniques in the UK steel industry. The automation systems group is engaging with Tata Steel and others to deliver a series of targeted projects to both improve manufacturing quality and support the automation of manufacturing and warehousing activities.
The goods-to-person system enables the kitting of sets of parts for assembly close to the production line optimizing assembly methods and minimizing non-value-adding activities. A prototype system and associated micro-warehouse are currently being implemented, targeted at the requirements of build-to-sequence car seat assembly.
A full-scale system integrating logistics with manufacturing operations is being implemented in the WMG International Manufacturing Centre. This system showcases Industry 4.0 methods and encompasses both new production systems and legacy equipment within a series of advanced manufacturing scenarios. The system is being used for both research and training with a range of industrial partners.
The CIMPOS /CIMTRACK Run-Off Tool is a software application that enables the validation of production machines prior to their being integrated into larger production system.
The program used on new machines in order to test their compliance with JLR standards for MES deployment, provided by JLR PTME Controls. The new Run-Off Tool will expand on our current tool whilst maintaining its dual capability of unsolicited and polling data.
WMG provides software solution for Jaguar Land Rover. The main tasks for ASG research group are converting software to .Net framework, maintaining current functionality; including Quality, Traceability, Overcheck and Start of Line (SOL) data; adding record and playback functionality and be transaction based with the ability to set how many transactions per toggle; including highlight function to improve visual identification; display functions for waning bit, exclusive state tracking and faults information.
ASG research group has expertise for PLC programming, software development and network analysis. This project requests three different modes between PLC and operation system, including machine-to-PC, MES Server-to-PC, Soft PLC with PC.
A major part of our work is focused on education and skills trainning in automation and related aspects of Industry 4.0.
Beginner, intermediate and advanced level trainings on PLC programming languages and structured programming methods
Beginner and advanced level trainings on robot programming
Electric Drives Control
Beginner and advanced level trainings on control, configuration and integration of electric drives
Mobile and collaborative Robotics
Beginner and advanced level trainings on programming AGVs and collaborative robots
Manufacturing Systems Integration
Advanced level training on integration of heterogenous systems and best practices in system integration
Pathway to Implementing Automation
Training to develop skills in business case preparation, detailed implementation plan and best practices to make informed decisions concerning the implementation of automation and robotic systems
Aimed to provide training on developing low cost IoT solutions, specifically to enable SMEs to collect data from the shop-floor
Machine Safety and Risk Assessment
To develop skills for ensuring safe working environment
Energy Monitoring and Management in Automation
To provide skills and knowledge on energy monitoring, modelling and management to reduce energy consumption
Digital Twins – Modelling, Simulation and Virtual Commissioning of Manufacturing Systems
Beginner, intermediate and advanced and executive level trainings on developing and utilising digital twins
Industry 4.0 for SMEs
To provide skills and knowledge on the the pathway to manufacturing digitalisation and Industry 4.0 compliant solutions
Executive level course to provide skills and knowledge on various aspects of smart manufacturing such as digital twins, CPS, Industry 4.0. reference architectures etc.
The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) is part of the UK government’s Faraday battery challenge. This new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, is currently under construction. The automation systems group is advising on the specification and implementation of these production facilities with a particular focus on digitalisation, the IT/OT systems and their integration.
H1PERBAT – Unipart Battery Assembly
H1PERBAT is a two-year, £8 million, Innovate UK funded project. Led by Williams Advanced Engineering the consortium includes Aston Martin Lagonda, Unipart Powertrain Applications, Warwick Manufacturing Group, the National Composites Centre, Coventry University, Aspire Engineering and Productiv. The project is addressing the need for high performance electric vehicle (EV) batteries by realising a novel flexible battery technology with outstanding module/system performance, and establishing a UK pilot facility for high performance batteries. Automation Systems Group at Warwick Manufacturing Group are support Unipart in the design and commissioning of the pilot production line at its Coventry manufacturing centre. The pilot line will be adaptable to various modular battery architectures and related manufacturing processes.