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Volkswagen & Teradata Spot Welding Analysis

Complex becomes clever - how Volkswagen & Teradata use data and advanced analytics to boost the efficiency of body shop processes

The journey of transforming into a data-driven company is all about discovering unused potential in data. At the Volkswagen plant in Emden, an interdisciplinary team of Volkswagen and Teradata identified one of these potentials and created a solution that increases efficiency in the body shop by making use of data from welding robots.

The Volkswagen plant in Emden produces more than 1000 cars per day, and the machines and robots in the body shop set up to 7 million welding spots daily. An impressive figure, especially considering the quality control required to ensure the quality of the welding process. This is where the solution of the Spot Welding Analytics comes into operation by making use of the significant amount of data that each welding robot produces. In this success story, read how Volkswagen together with AWS and Teradata, one of the leading providers of data and analytics solutions, transform the body shop in Emden into a more digitized factory by integrating and analyzing data from welding procedures.

Actionable insights based on the power of data and highly scalable advanced analytics makes optimizing the digital production in Volkswagen's factories easier and more efficient.

Christian Schwöbel, Executive Account Director Automotive at Teradata

Challenge – mastering complexity of testing in welding processes

Production is a complex process that requires comprehensive know-how in many different areas. The welding process in body shops is exemplary for this: welds must be executed precisely according to materials, layer thickness and positions to ensure high-quality and durability. Of course, welding spots must be checked after execution. At the Volkswagen plant in Emden up to 7 million welding spots are performed per day. Setting the welding spot takes the robot only a few seconds, but the necessary quality assurance afterwards is time intensive. Furthermore, the tests are based on relevant samples which are checked by a quality assurance team manually.

Solution – significant insights into welding processes with the power of big data

At the Volkswagen plant in Emden, an interdisciplinary team from Volkswagen and Teradata is working together on an intelligent solution for a data-driven quality assurance in welding processes. The solution makes use of data created by welding robots during each welding procedure – a previously almost unused potential of shop floor data. The goal is a data-driven analysis and documentation service for welding spot quality, that reduces manual efforts, improves quality and transparency throughout the process. Therefore, the solution provides the ability to intervene at an early stage in the process in case there is an irregularity. The user of the service is provided with dashboards that visualize general overviews of the welding process, the ability to create dynamic reports, receives detailed insights and furthermore is given analysis options to gain transparency as well as to further optimize the body shop processes.

The solution that the team jointly built and implemented as a use case for the plant Emden is scalable due to the fact, that it is fully built on and aligned with Volkswagen’s Industrial Cloud (Digital Production Platform). The basic service of the platform, the Base Connectivity Solution, is used to establish the local connectivity between the operations technology (OT), the IT and the Enterprise Tier in the Industrial Cloud. Spot welding data and additional metadata is already integrated and analyzed in Teradata Vantage on AWS, which is the leading cloud data analytics platform provisioned on AWS. This is where the analytical processing, the data scoring and training as well as combining the data with other sources takes place. By using analytical models that include self-learning and self-expanding Artificial Intelligence (AI) / machine learning algorithms, the service classifies and refines the data based on various process characteristics.

The results provide Volkswagen’s body shop workers with information on the process stability of all welding spots. Besides the process characteristics of each welding spot, the solution supports the analysis of the impacts of integrated maintenance procedures, material combinations and welding process parameters.

The use of process data for 100% process monitoring is a decisive step towards the Smart Factory and will be the basis for further applications that contribute to continuous improvement.

Mathias Boomgaarden, Project Manager WPS light at Volkswagen

Key benefits – transforming into a digitalized factory while making full advantage of data

By applying advanced analytics and business intelligence, not only has manual efforts been significantly reduced, but the scope of testing from samples has been expanded from spot checks to complete process inspection. The approach of achieving transparency through data has far reaching benefits, from making an early intervention possible and early detection of weak points in process flows, to dynamic maintenance of welding infrastructure and the analysis of material combinations. Together with Teradata a solution was created that provides insights for optimizing the control parameters of the welding infrastructure for general process improvement and targeted work control. Data is becoming increasingly important when it comes to leading production and logistics into the digital age. Volkswagen, AWS, and Teradata want to make data discovery accessible and scalable for the Industrial Cloud community.

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