Volkswagen to boost factory efficiency using IBM technology
Volkswagen Group, Germany’s largest auto company, is turning to IBM Corp. for help in making its manufacturing more efficient through advanced sensor technology.
Volkswagen is getting ready to install the new system, known as radio-frequency identification, at a major German plant with the assistance of Armonk-based IBM.
Under the RFID system, shipping containers of auto parts bound for Volkswagen’s factory assembly line are marked with RFID tags. High-tech reader devices and workers with handheld scanners can track the tagged containers as they move from point to point from suppliers to Volkswagen.
In a recently completed one-year pilot project, Volkswagen placed RFID tags on 3,000 shipping containers carrying sunroofs for the new Volkswagen Golf. Readers at the entrances to the Volkswagen manufacturing line, and mobile handheld scanners, were able to identify the containers and the sunroofs inside.
“The pilot project has been ground-breaking,” said Kurt Rindle, IBM global sensor solutions executive, in a written statement. “Volkswagen is driving innovation by becoming the first vehicle manufacturer to make daily use of RFID technology in the flow of materials between suppliers and the manufacturing line.”
Volkswagen said that RFID can also cut paperwork and overhead for manufacturers.
“The pilot project showed that we can reliably integrate RFID technology into our business processes at a low cost,” said Klaus Hardy Mühleck, head of group information technolgy at Volkswagen.