Increase efficiency and flexibility

Increase efficiency and flexibility

Increase efficiency and flexibility

Comau has developed and deployed its advanced automation solutions at Stellantis' automotive plant in Betim - Minas Gerais - as part of a comprehensive retooling project to produce both the Fiat Pulse, the brand's first SUV model in Brazil, and the Fiat Fastback, its first SUV coupe and one of the company's key launches for the local market. As part of the comprehensive project, Comau expanded an existing manufacturing platform to provide rapid body assembly solutions for the main body, body sides and related work, so that the two distinctly different SUVs could be produced on the same line.

In particular, the company has responded to the client's needs by leveraging its technical expertise in various engineering fields to integrate 74 automatic and 10 manual stations with camera systems, digital applications and turnkey facilities. The overall solution places a strong focus on geometric precision and welding accuracy of the underbody and sides.

Comau also used virtual commissioning and process simulation to optimise the design and retooling of the complex welding lines, allowing the team to test their functionality before commissioning on site. This allowed the team to anticipate any issues with robot sequencing and communication between robots and PLCs. By creating a comprehensive view of the plant in a virtual environment, Comau and Stellantis engineers were able to identify improvement points, improve process monitoring and make better use of legacy plant equipment - essential aspects for an effective design-to-cost approach.

In addition, as part of the Industry 4.0 initiative, IO-Link technology is used to monitor the water and compressed air supply, which are critical to the plant's functionality. This enables the system to analyse data in real time and detect any problems quickly and effectively. Remote configuration and monitoring are also possible. The integration of PLC software to optimise maintenance activities and the ability to perform robot backup activities via the corporate network also help to increase the long-term reliability of the entire line.

With safety and flexibility as two key pillars of the project, the highly productive production line has been designed to minimise tool change processes, reducing commissioning time and line intervention, which in turn impacts overall sustainability. This enables the customer to make their multi-model manufacturing requirements simpler, more efficient and cost-effective.

"In addition to overcoming the automation challenges, Comau's team was able to quickly propose and integrate key technologies to meet our quality and cycle time goals," said Glauber Fullana, manufacturing vice-president at Stellantis South America. "This project, which is part of our Industry 4.0 strategy, has given us more agility and the flexibility to manufacture different versions and other models on the same lines."

"The successful launch of this complex project is a testament to Comau's strong commitment to excellence and technological innovation," said Laerte Scarpitta, Comau Leader for the Americas. "Our turnkey manufacturing solution allows Stellantis to expand an existing platform to fully meet their near-term productivity, quality and market volume goals, while ensuring the ability to expand in the future as needed."

Comau has solid competencies that come from decades of experience with the client. The company has leveraged its local presence and 50 years of experience in automation, digitalisation and smart technologies to meet the challenging requirements of this project. As a global leader in automation, Comau has brought its manufacturing methods and state-of-the-art technologies to the Brazilian industry.

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