Nov 06 2008

Tower Automotive Invests in Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Body-in-White

Scalable Simulation Solution Optimizes Assembly Line Planning to Save Time and Money

Auburn Hills, Mich., November 6, 2008 – Dassault Systèmes (DS) (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, announced that Tower Automotive Holding GmbH, based in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, will soon implement its DELMIA Body-in-White solution to optimize planning and manufacturing processes associated with body and frame construction. The German subsidiary of Tower Automotive, headquartered in Novi, Michigan, develops and produces a wide range of parts employed in the construction of vehicle bodies, including stampings and assemblies for bodies and frames.

The precise welding and assembly of stamped metal body components play a critical role in the quality of automotive body production at Tower Automotive. In the past, any simulation of the sheet metal joining processes has been performed by outside companies using sophisticated models.  From this point on, Tower Automotive plans to run its own simulation using the Body-in-White Metal Structure module on all new and ongoing projects that use complex manufacturing processes. A particular point of emphasis will be the exact rescheduling and validation of current production lines for both new and modified products. The objective is to efficiently design, modify, and manufacture components through a more straightforward procedure than has been used thus far.

“Until now, we entered components and joining points individually in MS Excel spreadsheets,” says Ralf Krähe, the head of Program Management and Assembly Engineering at Tower Automotive in Europe. “As a result, the data wasn’t interlinked. Instead, we simply had various systems, and it took a lot of work to combine them.”  

With this solution, all data is integrated into a single DELMIA hub repository. The automotive supplier is anticipating that the DELMIA solution will substantially optimize the many processes involved. “Some of the things we expect are a reduction in modification costs and the ability to quickly generate high-quality simulations of critical areas in the production lines for individual assemblies,” Krähe explains.

DELMIA Body-in-White is a scalable solution that enables users to create, modify, and validate automotive body-in-white planning for lines and stations in a virtual 3D environment, prior to physical production. The solution’s modular approach allows users to merge different plan segments into their systems at any given time.  These partial segments can then be integrated into one complete process later on.

In addition to the Metal Structure module, Tower Automotive plans to implement other modules to enhance the independence of its workflow processes so product modifications and manufacturing processes can be validated, simulated, and evaluated directly. “As a result, we will be able to respond much more quickly to the OEM’s requirements,” says Krähe confidently. The company will benefit from processes that are both improved and simplified, and consequently its manufacturing operations will be more efficient and cost-effective.