TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- The Internet of Things has arrived at the factory.
French supplier Faurecia has invested $64 million to install a digital manufacturing system in a new factory in Columbus, Indiana, said David DeGraaf, president of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America.
The factory produces up to 880 emissions control systems per day for commercial trucks, said DeGraaf, who spoke Monday at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars here.
The factory, which opened last year, is the most digitally advanced facility in Faurecia’s global network, DeGraaf said.
It is not an automated factory -- but it is getting closer to it.
One hundred robots weld, move and scan components, while 30 autonomous vehicles move materials around the building. But perhaps the most important upgrade was the installation of 1.3 miles of fiber-optic cables.
The plant, which DeGraaf dubbed Industry 4.0, allows machinery to upload a stream of production data to the “lake” -- a data storage system like the cloud, but controlled by Faurecia.
Faurecia monitors the data to control quality, schedule maintenance and spot potential problems before a breakdown occurs.
The plant, which has 450 employees, requires fewer unskilled workers, but more skilled people to monitor the machinery.
“We require a different skill set to operate a plant,” DeGraaf said. “We have less direct labor, but more indirect labor. We are shifting from unskilled workers in manufacturing to the service industry.”