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Industrie 4.0: KUKA Toledo Production Operations

Industrie 4.0 with KUKA Toledo Production Operations

With KUKA Toledo Production Operations, or KTPO for short, KUKA set a new milestone in terms of the digital supply chain and Industrie 4.0. The manufacturing solution consisting of networked systems and architectures was set up as long ago as 2006 and was ahead of its time. The plant enabled a quantum leap in productivity.

Up until 2006, the efficient production of high volumes and a wide range of models and variants on the same production line had always been considered impossible. KTPO proved the opposite: the body-in-white plant for Jeep® Wrangler bodyshells is pioneering in terms of networking and process control – as well as offering unprecedented flexibility. KUKA was already implementing Industrie 4.0 in reality back then.

The "Internet of Things in a Box"

A vehicle body – of whatever model and whatever version – comes off the production line every 77 seconds. Reliably, day in, day out, for the last ten years. To achieve this, KUKA linked the plant’s 259 robots and 60,000 other devices with powerful back-end monitoring systems and a master data management system. This was essentially the development of “IoT in a Box” which has evolved dynamically and continuously ever since.

For years, the plant has been one of the most efficient body-in-white lines in the US automotive industry and one of the pioneers of Industrie 4.0. So far, at a rate of nearly one a minute, around one and a half million bodies-in-white for the Jeep® Wrangler have rolled off the same line, irrespective of whether they are for the classic two-door model or for the four-door “Unlimited” series.

De KTPO-installatie behoort tot de wegbereiders van Industrie 4.0.
The KTPO plant counts as one of the pioneers of Industrie 4.0.

Pioneering operator model

The Jeep® Wrangler is a success story – in terms of both production and demand. In order to keep up effortlessly with the increasing production figures, KTPO made use of an intelligent control system to enable non-stop output of bodyshells in two-shift operation. “KTPO reliably produces top-quality vehicle bodies,” emphasizes KTPO Managing Director Jake Ladouceur.

The operator model at KTPO is also pioneering. In the four production facilities at the “Toledo Supplier Park”, several suppliers take on responsibility for the manufacture of entire preliminary stages in their own production shops. Chrysler itself is responsible for painting and final assembly.

Dankzij Industrie 4.0 kan moeiteloos worden voldaan aan de hoge vraag naar het succesmodel Jeep® Wrangler.
With Industrie 4.0, the strong demand for the Jeep® Wrangler success story can be met with ease.
  • Bodysides System (Overhead Power & Free)

    • Bodyside System utilizes Overhead Power & Free to transfer Bodysides to Framing System
    • Bodysides are built in sets within the same system
  • Box Line (KUKA PULSE)

    • Utilization of the PULSE increases up-time production due to few mechanical wear parts
    • Cost effective because of minimal spare parts and up to 25% lower energy consumption just on station to station transfer alone
  • Underbody Subs

    • JT Underbody assembled utilizing robot carried process
    • JT Model type created in the underbody systems
  • Underbody Skid

    Fata Skid transfer is used to complete the underbody build-up process.

  • Framing System (Robotic Carried Framing Gates)

    System utilizes robotic carried framing gates. These gates present the Bodysides to the Underbody by docking into tooling locators which positively locate Bodysides to the Underbody.

  • Panel Line (Best Fit Group)

    The auto panel line is designed to custom fit closure panels to the distinct body variation associated with each vehicle that is processed. As the individual components of the body-in-white (BIW) are welded and framed, variation is introduced creating an assembly that is dimensionally unique from vehicle to vehicle. The auto panel line gauges the final BIW assembly in an upstream “data farm” station and sends this dimensional data to the various downstream robots/fixtures in the system which adjust the closure panels to the “best fit” location for that vehicle.
  • Fender System (RoboSpin)

    • KUKA´s RoboSpin process, aluminum can be welded as quickly as steel and electrode tip wear is the same for both materials
    • The KUKA RoboSpin process also reduces cycle times and improves the quality of the welds
  • Door Inner Cell (Laser System)

    • Utilizes Laserline 6 kW laser generator
    • HIGHYAG RSK Optic / ABICOR-BINZEL wire feed system
    • 29 laser welds with 100 % penetration (Per FCA Spec)
    • Welding with 4,047 filler wire to prevent cracking on 6,000 Series Aluminum
  • Front & Rear Door Systems

    • Down holders were provided by KUKA (Germany)
    • Down holders positively locate the inner to outer sub-assemblies by docking into the hem bed
  • Hood System (Roller Hemming Equipment)

    • All Closure Systems utilize KS HOQ Hemming Head with KUKA RHS Corner Hem Units
    • Three pass process is utilized to ensure the best hem quality on the Aluminum Closures

KTPO as an intelligent lifecycle management platform

What began with the networking of production processes via back-end monitoring systems, has meanwhile developed into an intelligent lifecycle management platform as part of Industrie 4.0. The fully digitized solution, linked to production, controls and monitors the entire value chain in real time, from receipt of materials to the actual production processes and goods dispatch. It also identifies weak points and optimizes capacity utilization.

Day in, day out, KTPO impressively demonstrates that KUKA is operating a body-in-white production facility that can meet the most exacting standards of the global automotive industry in terms of quality and efficiency as well as the requirements of Industrie 4.0.

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