TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan — Faurecia’s newest U.S. factory will generate so much data that it will have to employ its own mathematician.
On Oct. 4, the French supplier plans to unveil a $64 million emissions control systems plant in Columbus, Indiana, that reveals how Faurecia will manufacture in the future.
The company calls the project an open, collaborative, paperless, connected, digital manufacturing center. It will be the showcase for Faurecia’s 4.0 manufacturing initiative in its emissions plants.
“We have 77 sites around the globe and this is going to be the technology leader,” Christopher Wiegandt, Faurecia vice president of strategy and market intelligence, told Automotive News this month during the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars here.
Global automotive manufacturers increasingly use the term “4.0” to refer to a new generation of factory approaches that combine advances in automation, data processing, Internet tools, hardware and workplace environments.
Faurecia’s factory will employ 450 people and be driven by a “manufacturing intelligence” designed to anticipate problems before they occur.
In language that might have bewildered factory engineers a generation ago, Faurecia’s website describes the new plant this way: “Captured data, for example, temperature, are analyzed using algorithms to correlate data with certain outcomes. Applied on sites, this information enables equipment failures to be predicted and prevented,” improving productivity and efficiency.
This is where the mathematician comes in.
“We’ve hired a mathematician to be part of the plant staff,” Wiegandt said.
“The amount of data will be significant. The other thing is to extract data that is most important.”
For example, “some of the robots are on a sliding mechanism. If the friction changes, what does it mean? How do we extract that data? How do we utilize it in the most effective manner and how do we get in mode of predicting? That’s where the industry is going. It’s not preventive maintenance anymore. It’s predictive.”
The Indiana plant will feature so-called AIVs, or autonomous intelligent vehicles with “machine learning” capabilities.