Cooperation Of Man And Machine: The Suzuki Plant’s Development Project Reaches Final Stage

As a result of a multi-stage production development project launched three years ago the Suzuki plant in Esztergom has increased safety of manufactured cars that meet today's most advanced technological, market and environmental requirements. In order to make car drive greener and more cost-effective the car manufacturer has developed a new composition of polymers needed for parts manufacturing and the company has modernized its logistics system and turned its welding system intelligent. The successful implementation of the project is achieved through the coordinated work of more than 100 experts.

Innovation as a core principle
The founder of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Michio Suzuki was familiar with customers' expectations. While the company produced looms a hundred years ago, today, in the age of mobility it manufactures safe cars. Developing products of superior value by focusing on the needs of customers is a basic principle that has remained the Suzuki family's motto ever since. All employees of the company around the world follow this guideline today as well. Accordingly, as a company with a spirit of innovation, Magyar Suzuki Corporation aims to offer exciting, innovative vehicles at affordable prices, that make people's lives easier. The company's ongoing modernization effort, conducted with this objective in mind, has now reached an important milestone of multi-stage research & development project started in September 2016.

In the coordinated consortium effort, led by Magyar Suzuki Corporation, Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd. for Applied Research, PEMÜ Plc. and the Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics of Pázmány Péter Catholic University are participating, with over 100 experts involved.

“Our production technology developments have entered a new important phase. We have already reached significant results in this innovation process which makes us able to come up with an offer that meet most of our customers’ expectations. Thanks to digitalization, the process of implementing new models from the drawing boards of the Japanese parent company into Hungarian mass production is accelerating making new models’ launches faster” says deputy Managing Director Dr. László Urbán, with regard to the advanced development efforts.

On the way to digital production management
Changing market needs and compliance policies make car models change at a fast pace and the development cycle of vehicle models substantially shorter than before creating this way the need for an even flexible logistics system. In the frame of the innovation project Suzuki has digitalized its internal parts supply system which is capable of a real-time display of feedbacks related to material flow and stocks, hence improving productivity and reducing the chance of human errors. Modernized warehouse processes support a fully electronic product tracking system implemented in the factory while the parts supply procedures in the assembly shop are optimized with the help of a special software that simulates material flow.

Harmony of robots
Part of the R+D project was the creation of an active network of robots to follow the spot welding process and the implementation of a communication network able to process structured data. The innovative system accelerates the introduction of new car models by replacing manual inspections of welded body parts by software-controlled check-ups and connecting 3D models with spot welding coordinates of body parts. The development provides data analytics of robots which shortens production time and offers a more advanced fault detection as well as predictive maintenance.

Suzuki, with the help of its partner, performs experiments to test introduction of laser welding which allows more flexibility and shorter production cycles, enabling the simple welding of various alloys and light metals simply and quickly with no specific tools required.

New bases
The characteristics of end products are considerably determined by base materials used for parts prototypes. This is one reason why Suzuki and its development partner have been making material developments aiming to create polymers with better technical and flame retardancy parameters than the materials used currently. In the last phase of the project the company runs tests investigating the behavior of polymers in production environment and compares the current parts with the ones made of new materials. This helps Suzuki further increase safety, contribute to the preservation of the environment and reduce the fuel consumption of its car models.