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Case Study:

Volvo Cars employs Siemens PLM Software

Volvo Car Corporation (Volvo Cars) is a leading premium car manufacturer based in Sweden. In 2010 it was acquired by Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group of China. Volvo Cars’ core strategy is to continue to strengthen its presence in mature markets, while also capitalising on the potential offered by emerging markets. Its growth strategy is to establish China as the company’s second biggest market behind the US market.

To address its growing engineering and production challenges, Volvo Cars uses various tools from Siemens PLM Software, such as Teamcenter software for a number of applications in the product development process, including engineering process management, lifecycle visualisation and requirements management. The manufacturing process management capabilities of Teamcenter and several tools of Tecnomatix software, including Process Designer, Process Simulate and Robcad software, are used to manage, plan and simulate production processes. As the company expands in China, it will continue to use these tools and populate them with best-practice manufacturing engineering methodologies, which it has captured over the years in its plants across Europe.

Using Tecnomatix, when Volvo Cars develops a concept for a new production line, it is now able to plan, visualise and simulate the production line to work out the most cost-effective set up. Volvo Cars plans to expand its production capacity within a relatively short time frame by shifting the production of the S60 model from the Belgium Ghent plant to the Gothenburg Torslanda plant, thus allowing more production capacity for the XC60 model in the Ghent plant. It was able to do so more easily with the realistic robot simulation capabilities in Tecnomatix, meaning that it needed to make only slight modifications on the shop floor. Volvo Cars is also currently expanding into the electric vehicles domain, creating a lot of new challenges in the manufacturing area, as the cars will be different yet still need to be produced in the same production line. According to a senior manufacturing engineering manager at Volvo Cars, it is possible to handle this complexity only with dedicated tools such as Tecnomatix.

The robotics simulation manager adds that due to the strength and user friendliness of the Tecnomatix tools, Volvo Cars’ simulation department delivers more output and simulates more production concepts compared to before, and requires fewer people to do so. In the body in white area, for example, the company supports spot welding, laser welding and gluing processes with 98 per cent of its robots programmed offline, and plans to increase this to 100 per cent.

Looking forward, as the company realises the benefits of using the manufacturing process management capability of Teamcenter and the integrated Process Simulate solution, it plans to deploy Siemens PLM Software solutions across more manufacturing engineering areas. It is also evaluating additional technologies from Siemens PLM Software, such as the virtual commissioning simulation and programming capability, which enables not only robot simulation, but also programmable logic controller simulation within the production line.

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