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Increasing Efficiency and Safety of Battery Assembly Line

POSTED 12/15/2023

Summary

An electric vehicle manufacturer hired DMC to improve their proof of concept battery pack production line. Three stations were identified as production chokepoints that required greater efficiency, less downtime, and fewer instances of operator intervention. DMC completely rewrote  and recommissioned these production cells resulting in battery assembly line machines that were easier to use, more productive, and safer.

Solution

DMC increased the client’s productivity, safety, reliability, and quality of products while reducing system behavioral inconsistencies and instances of operator intervention within the automated process.

Our engineers reprogrammed and re-commissioned the three most inefficient cells within the client’s proof of concept battery pack production line. We re-wrote the programs’ PLC code, re-created HMI screens, and better integrated existing technology.

HMIs

HMI screens and objects were re-developed from scratch using high performance HMI standards. DMC developed additional client-specific standards and reusable screen elements in order to improve development efficiency and ensure UI/UX consistency between stations. The resulting HMI provided for a more intuitive and streamlined interface for operators.

TR88 (PackML) Structure

Engineers implemented a limited scope model for the program that allowed the core components to be reused from machine to machine. We implemented a TR88 program structure (PackML) throughout the three stations' Rockwell Automation PLCs. This provided operational consistency to the machines within the line.

MagneMotion

During the rewrite, DMC added in more functional Rockwell Automation MagneMotion control to the system that had been reliant on operator intervention for moving product between stations. Improvements included more robust product movement functionality and better vehicle recognition upon MagneMotion path reset. Overall, DMC ensured the motion system that carried the parts around worked smoothly and more efficiently.

Additional Operational Efficiencies

The new cell changes also improved management and supervision capabilities. Better part ID and status tracking served to improve and streamline MES traceability. Furthermore, machine status tracking on the PLC allowed for the logging and display of key Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) metrics and cycle times.

After implementing the re-written code to the three relevant cells, DMC provided continued production support for the entire assembly line to further increase line uptime and efficiency.

DMC ultimately delivered production line improvements that met customer requirements and  proved significantly easier and efficient to operate. We brought our programming, commissioning, and supporting expertise to the battery pack production line and improved runtime, machine usability, ease of training, safety, and overall efficiency.

Customer Benefits

  • Increased efficiency of production
  • Improved operator interfaces
  • Increased overall safety of the production line
  • Increased recovery
  • Increased reliability
  • Increased HMI capability
  • Standardization

Technologies

  • Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley PLC Programmable Controllers
    • Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View – HMI Software
  • Rockwell Automation MagneMotion
  • Rockwell Automation HMI
  • Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View Machine Edition (ME)

Learn more about DMC’s Automotive Manufacturing Programming, Integration, & Testing and contact us today for your next project.