The basic principle of swarm assembly works well in practice, as demonstrated by the results of a large-scale simulation. These findings were based on real data from vehicles, assembly sequences, take rates, and equipment availability. Four vehicle variants were running on the same assembly line: a premium sedan, luxury sedan, convertible, and midsize sedan. In addition, 13 assembly modules were identified in total to be mounted in the swarm area – from the auxiliary heating and sound systems to the active chassis.
The results of the simulation are impressive indeed, resulting in four main findings that are crucial for practice:
1. Swarm assembly is able to accommodate maximum variance with optimized workstation utilization.
2. The number of assembly stations is similar to a conventional assembly line.
3. Lead times for vehicles with little equipment is reduced by a considerable margin.
4. The necessary investment for new AGV technology is cost-neutral compared to conventional skillet systems, while offering much greater flexibility and efficiency.
Against this background, Michael Weis is keen to note: “Everything therefore speaks in favor of widespread implementation of swarm assembly from our point of view.”