At the beginning of the virtual discussion round, Dr. Joachim Döhner, Battery Senior Director Global Sales at KUKA, and Christian Gallner, Director Plant Schierling at Webasto, spoke about the mobility transformation and the resulting strategic realignment of the two partners: "Our dual strategy involves, on the one hand, consistently strengthening our existing core business areas of roof and thermal and, on the other, developing new business areas that fit our competence profile. The focus here is on electromobility," says Christian Gallner. "In addition to high-voltage heaters and battery systems, the product portfolio also includes charging solutions for private and automobile manufacturers."
Mobility 2.0: Electric, flexible and intelligent
One thing is clear: The energy concept of the future is inconceivable without electromobility. The transformation of the automotive industry is in full swing worldwide. KUKA and Webasto are also facing up to the new challenges in order to pave the way for more sustainable, climate-friendly, intelligent and low-emission mobility.
KUKA and Webasto have already taken the first joint step: The realization of a production system for battery systems that ensures the essential components of Industrie 4.0 as well as extremely versatile production.
State-of-the-art manufacturing: Technology of the highest precision
At the Schierling plant of Webasto in the district of Regensburg, Bavaria, production of battery packs for a European bus manufacturer has already started. With the highly flexible Multi-Product-Line, the partners have created one of the most modern production systems for battery systems.
The special feature of this plant? The realization of the three essential core aspects of matrix production: extremely versatile production. Flexible plant interlinking with personnel-safe automated guided vehicles (AGVs) ensures greater flexibility and open floor space. The separation of logistics and production through a kiosk concept enables variable parts logistics. And last but not least, modularity: modular production stations ensure production cells that can be configured and expanded at any time.
"With the Multi-Product-Line at Webasto, we have realized a production system that both consistently implements the requirements of Industrie 4.0 in the context of industrial production and ensures the decisive competitive advantage," explains Dr. Döhner.
The key to success: Combined engineering and market expertise
KUKA and Webasto have been working together as partners since 2002 and have been involved in a number of roof production projects.
"With regard to the creation of the line, it was important for us to have a high level of protection for the manual workers; on the other hand, we required robust automation solutions for our core processes," says Gallner. "With KUKA, we have an experienced partner from the region that serves exactly these requirements."
In battery production, KUKA specializes in module and pack assembly, including end-of-line testing. KUKA also specializes in the assembly of electric motors and all components for the electric powertrain. Furthermore, fuel cell technology is an additional focus of activities. Quality, flexibility, robustness and digitalization are always the top priorities.