Audi Initiative for Digital Factory Transformation in Heilbronn
Pooling competence for smart production and logistics, Audi will be collaborating closely in the future with the Technical University of Munich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO in the area of digitalization at the Bildungscampus of Dieter Schwarz Foundation in Heilbronn. Championed by Audi, the Automotive Initiative 2025 aims to establish a world-leading competence network for digital factory transformation and innovation. The Audi site in Neckarsulm will assume a central role as a pilot factory and real-world laboratory for digital transformation. Relevant IT solutions and ideas will be provided by technology partners Amazon Web Services, SAP, Capgemini and the XL2 joint venture, in which Audi is a founding partner.
Audi already uses intelligent digital solutions at its production sites all around the world. The Four Rings are now launching the Automotive Initiative 2025, AI25, in Heilbronn with partners from academia and the IT sector to systematically continue along this path. AI25 is striving to develop digital solutions for the factory of the future and implement them in vehicle production and logistics for series production within the next five years, with the overarching goal of making these key components of the production process even more efficient and flexible. As the pilot factory, the Audi site in Neckarsulm will become a real-world laboratory for the digital transformation and thus play a central role in the initiative. There, digital solutions for vehicle production and the supply chain will be tested and developed for use in series production. The site’s expertise in small-series and volume production will be particularly beneficial.
As part of the Bildungscampus in Heilbronn and the Heilbronn-Franken region’s Innovation and IT Network, the site will help to develop such future thinking solutions as the use of artificial intelligence or intuitive man-machine interaction. XL2, the Heilbronn-based joint venture founded last year by Audi and Capgemini, will play an important role when it comes to bringing IT innovations to the Audi plants around the world. With academic support from the Fraunhofer IAO and the Technical University of Munich, XL2 will collaborate with additional IT experts from Capgemini, SAP and AWS to develop the IT solutions required for a smart and connected factory.
The basis for this collaboration is the Digital Production Platform, in which the data of every machine, piece of equipment and system from every plant in the Volkswagen Group are pooled. The sites thus become part of the industrial cloud, which in the future will also include the Group’s supply chain as well as additional partners. With Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt, the first two Audi sites have already been connected to the DPP; the remaining sites will follow later this year. In their collaboration, the companies will be leveraging AWS technologies in the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and computing services that will be developed specifically for the production environment and adapted to the requirements of the automotive industry.
Furthermore, the use of the SAP S/4HANA platform will lay the foundation for the next generation of digital production processes, on which the companies will work together on solutions for modular production and interoperable vehicle logistics. As part of this interdisciplinary collaboration between research, industry and IT, the companies will use industry-specific applications of the SAP Industry Cloud in the areas of machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and business process intelligence, which are holistically aligned with future needs for the automation and digitalization of the automotive industry.