Aepro Uses DELMIA Systems to Boost Production Line for Tata Motors

Production of Indica set to double thanks to IGRIP and UltraSpot

Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.A. and Manchester, U.K., August 17, 2005 - Dassault Systèmes (NASDAQ: DASTY; Euronext Paris: No. 13065, DSY.PA), today announced that engineering consultants, Aepro, have used its DELMIA products to help achieve the goal of doubling the production of Tata Motors’ Indica.

Under contract to German automotive specialists, Drauz Nothelfer, part of the Thyssenkrupp Group, Aepro has set the challenge of doubling the daily car production at Tata’s Pune Plant from 375 to 750.  The Indica is the first car to be designed and manufactured entirely in India and it has proved to be extremely popular.  In the four years it has been available, 250,000 have been sold.


Chris Downs, a director of Aepro, explains, “This project had all kinds of constraints, but that just made it a challenge for us.  Apart from the distance between us and them and the inevitable time zone problems, we were also told that demand for the car was such that no outage could be permitted.  All the work to increase the capacity of the line had to be completed in the one day a week that the plant shuts down.  Just to complicate matters even further, all the lay-outs for the original line were presented to us as 2D drawings and the robots populating it were diverse, a mixture of new and used Nachi and Fanuc.”


Aepro first reverse engineered the line using CATIA to create the tooling documentation.  Once they had an accurate representation of the status quo and understood all the processes and process documentation, DELMIA UltraSpot was used to create a simulation.  The simulation featured all the actual robot programs, which were integrated into the simulation via IGRIP.  It soon became apparent that the heavily automated line was taking 105 seconds to complete a cycle, which, if the target was to be reached, had to be completed in just 90 seconds.


Chris continues: “We recommended the addition of a parallel mini line that we expected would be operational within seven months.  Eight new ABB robots capable of ergonomically difficult welds were purchased for this, largely manual, line, but we sidestepped any compatibility issues by simply uploading all the individual robot programs from UltraSpot’s extensive robot library.  All the offline programming and simulation for this line was carried out in UltraSpot, so we were able to prove its 250 units a day capacity.”


Once the mini line was complete, attention was then turned to the main line.  17 new robots were added, bringing the total robot population of the line to 90.  However, it was not just a matter of adding more automation, all the welds had to be redistributed all along the line in order to meet the 90 second target.  The resulting, detailed simulation has full kinematics to all its tooling systems, as well as a complete robotic simulation.  Chris concludes: “The end result is extremely realistic and has helped communicate our aims and methodology to both the main contractor and the end user.  When so much is at stake, as was the case here, confidence is key.”

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