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One battery pack per minute
FAW-Volkswagen produces up to 300,000 battery packs per year in Foshan in southern China. Around 100 KUKA robots are at work in the KUKA assembly plant, where they weld, glue or package, among other things.
State-of-the-art production and flagship for the FAW-Volkswagen Group
The production facility known as the "MEB Smart Factory" was built specifically for the production of the all-electric MEB platform. MEB stands for Modular E-Drive System. For the Volkswagen Group, it is a reference factory for electric vehicles and a flagship for the global automotive industry around automation, smart production, and digitalization. The level of automation at the MEB factory is up to 82 percent. KUKA implemented the assembly line for the battery packs here.
Technology know-how for complex manufacturing
The production of battery packs is a special challenge. The successful implementation of the demanding production steps is, in addition to the high capacity and technical availability, the quality requirements and the systematic acquisition of all relevant process data, an important component of the ultra-modern and forward-looking production line. In the future, over one hundred KUKA industrial robots will take over the demanding process steps.
In the factory, welding lines for battery shells are lined up with battery packaging lines. This is complemented by testing equipment and logistics using automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Robots from KUKA weld and glue on the automated welding line for battery cases. Robots from KUKA are also used for packaging. There, robots from the KR QUANTEC, KR FORTEC and KR titan families work together to fully automate the packaging process, enabling an output of 150,000 battery packs in a single shift. In a double shift, the plant even manages up to 300,000 battery packs per year.
The flexible assembly line for battery pack production
The FAW-Volkswagen branch in Foshan was established in December 2011. Since then, it has been an important part of the FAW Group's development strategy in South China. In addition to four large production facilities for stamping, welding, painting, and final assembly, the state-of-the-art MEB Smart Factory was also built here, where FAW-Volkswagen manufactures the core components of electric vehicles.
Transparent production thanks to Digital Factory
Due to the high importance and safety relevance of battery systems, the traceability of the installed components and the individual production steps is becoming increasingly important, especially in battery production: the comprehensive KUKA portfolio around the "digital factory" provides decisive advantages for this. The MEB Smart Factory introduces advanced technologies for the entire production line. For example, real-time data and early warning systems of the production line are transmitted. This means that plant performance data can be tracked at any time and from anywhere. In addition, the MEB Smart Factory has a variety of high-end test equipment that can perform 100% testing of air tightness, loading and unloading, and other process-relevant parameters. This ensures the safety and reliable quality of the battery packs. By usingpreventive maintenance, downtime is minimized and maximum OEE (overall equipment effective-ness) can be achieved on the entire production line.