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Low Volume; High Flexibility Manufacturing


The West Midlands has traditionally been strong in the automotive markets. The sector is already losing its position in the high volume markets.   
  • Competitive forces and rivalry in the automotive industry are fierce. There has been a developing trend to outsource to overseas countries in recent years. 
  • The remaining lower volume, niche companies need to remain in a competitive position and re-enforce themselves within the global marketplace. Expansion is limited by the high cost of re-tooling when introducing new models. 
The main objective of this project is to research and target areas which will reduce these costs and introduce flexibility into manufacturing - delivering competitive advantage in the marketplace by achieving the cost benefits associated with high volume production for lower volume BIW assembly.
  • Product lifecycles are reducing – demanding investments with a shorter payback period
  • Industrially focused evaluation of new and emerging technologies to identify the commercial feasibility and business case prior to justifying/committing capital expenditure.
The programme identified two routes to improve the base cost:
  1. Improve the speed of the applied process.  For example the use of Remote Fibre Lasers will reduce process time by 66% leading to a reduction of tooling costs by a comparable amount.
  2. The removal of the need for tooling via the incorporation of component features to locate the panels relative to each other.
This programme was driven by The BIW Guild a grouping of Suppliers within the West Midlands and supported the perceived technological issues impacting upon those companies, which could be supported by a collaborative approach.
Related Project Reports
Remote Laser Cell
  Remote Laser Cell
Flexible Gripper Concept
Flexible Gripper Concept