The automotive industry currently faces what is doubtless the greatest period of change in its recent history, with hybrid and electric vehicles gradually replacing petrol and diesel vehicles. This transformation entails a profound change at car production facilities, which will have to adapt to new vehicle designs that are more respectful of the environment, requiring production lines to change significantly.
Actemium ASAS is well-positioned to face the challenge, with two strategic lines: process automation at factories via AGVs (Automated guided vehicles) and battery assembly for hybrid and electric vehicles. Actemium ASAS has already delivered pioneering orders, such as the battery assembly plant for Audi Brussels, Belgium, the first in Europe, and has now won new contracts related to electric car manufacturing, such as the recent order for the Volkswagen factory in Zwickau, Germany – see page 9 of this Polo Positivo – and the remodelling of the production line for the Opel Corsa and its electric variant at the Figueruelas plant in Zaragoza.
The project has a budget of approximately €8m, and involves “adapting the Corsa production line for the new electric model, whilst also being suitable for the conventional model,” explains Ángela Caravantes, Design Engineer. Specifically, she was responsible for designing the decking, “where the engine/motor, steering and transmission meet or interface with the bodywork”.
The use of AGVs (autonomous conveyors), is essential at this critical juncture in the vehicle manufacturing process, which are responsible for inserting the pallet with the front and rear axles and the vehicle engine/motor, onto the production line.
Miguel Cárcel, Site Manager, explains that “thereafter and by means of a rocker arm, the entire assembly is pushed along an overheard conveyor, where the front and rear axles, and the engine/motor are screwed together and joined to the bodywork. A hydraulic scissor lift then brings them down, known as “the divorce” at Opel.
Actemium ASAS provides the possibility of combining its assembly technologies with its pioneering heavy load AGV based transportation and assembly propulsion system, offering greater installation flexibility in terms of location within the factory, and the entire system assembly.
Actemium ASAS designed machines are assembled and tested in our Valencia workshop, where they are passed by the customer. “The installation is tested mechanically and electrically, explains Miguel Cárcel, and it is also programmed, to try and reduce factory install times as much as possible.” Car factories make very brief stops, so such changes have to be made in the shortest time possible, and therefore time frames are very tight for removing old production lines and installing, testing and commissioning new ones.
As highlighted by Miguel Cárcel, “in the automotive sector globally, all brands are investing and committing to electric vehicles or at least hybrid vehicles”. Actemium ASAS has decided to strongly commit to the dual integration of electric vehicles and autonomous AGV conveyors, which is where they see the market heading. Its pioneering implementations and latest orders demonstrate that their commitment has met with success.