New mega paint shop

Dürr recently handed over one of the biggest paint shops in China to SAIC Volkswagen. The new plant in Anting is a factory of superlatives. The production capacity is twice that of a standard paint shop at 120 bodies per hour, and behind the intelligent production is software and artificial intelligence on a hitherto unknown scale.

Applying intelligent digitalization the whole coating plant can be permanently optimized. Image: Dürr

A smart painting line records around 3,500 digital data points for every individual body alone. On top of this, sensors supply many gigabytes of data in the form of process values for temperature, pressure, and humidity as one example. This information is the raw material for increasing the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of a paint shop. The new SAIC Volkswagen joint venture (SVW) plant near Shanghai, where various electric models and conventionally powered vehicles are produced, is a prime example from real life. Dürr supplied all of the plant engineering as well as the most comprehensive portfolio yet of its proprietary “DXQ” software products for the highly digitized factory. Right from the beginning, mechanical engineering and IT expertise went hand in hand in the SVW project. The digital solutions were developed in parallel with planning and implementing the comprehensive plant engineering – from the “RoDip” dip coating system through paint booths with “EcoDryScrubber” dry separation to the oven and the air pollution control. SVW’s digital requirements catalog largely lined up with the development agenda of Dürr’s Digital Factory with the result that many new “DXQ” products found their way into the plant. Over the 18-month project duration, six international product development teams from Dürr worked with up to ten developers in each case on the new technologies.

SVW uses nearly all modules from the feature-rich “DXQcontrol” software solution for higher-level plant control. It enables the life cycle of each body to be tracked from beginning to end. This starts with receipt of a production order, whereby the order information is translated into concrete production steps. In addition to order data management, theDXQbusiness.intelligence” module is also used in a new form. For the first time, consumption data such as energy, water, or air usage can be evaluated historically over long periods. This is the foundation for sustainable plant operation. A further innovation is the use of mobile apps. For example, employees can manage and filter alarm functions directly at the point of origin in the plant using tablets if the line comes to a stop.

For SVW, mobile versions also have the advantage that the employees can access maintenance data using tablets by scanning QR codes on plant components. This enables the employees to work more flexibly. At SVW in Anting, the “DXQequipment.maintenance” maintenance software is being used for the first time for a complete paint shop. The software has interfaces to the plant equipment’s almost 130 controllers and uses them to determine each piece of equipment’s need for maintenance based on up-to-date information like operating hours or counter readings. SVW can also incorporate plant components from other suppliers.
Several terabytes of digital data per year are collected, saved, and evaluated by the intelligent algorithms of” application in the new paint shop. If, for example, an employee detects an irregularity on the paint surface during the quality inspection, he enters it into the tablet. The application then correlates recorded quality results with order data (production number, derivative, color, etc.) and process data on basis of artificial intelligence to identify patterns. A broad base of data makes it possible to track the fault causes in a targeted way and define measures. In this way, the system can be permanently optimized. For the first time, process data from other suppliers’ components and systems is also evaluated at SVW in Anting.

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