One of Audi’s goals is to constantly improve the quality of its product. To achieve this goal, it is experimenting with different solutions that use the latest technologies, like artificial intelligence. The house with the 4 rings has recently started a pilot project in the Neckarsulm plant called “WPS Analytics” where the welding points of the bodies of the Audi A6 and A7 are controlled through the use of artificial intelligence.
The manufacturer says that on an A6 there are about 5,300 welding points. Until now, the welds were checked manually, by technicians based on sample analysis, using ultrasound technology. Through this pilot project in which several digitization specialists are involved, artificial intelligence is used to detect any anomalies automatically and in real-time.
Our goal is to test and develop digital solutions for the production of vehicles up to their use in series production. This AI-based technology propels Audi and this plant into the future.
Audi explains that the system that has been developed uses an algorithm, a graphical user interface, and an application for more in-depth analysis. The goal is to get to evaluate almost 100% of the welding points. In the long term, the goal is that the quality of welding processes can be controlled automatically and continuously optimized.
The algorithm will serve as a model for further applications in connected manufacturing and will allow us to further advance existing digital solutions, such as predictive maintenance.
Neckarsulm’s experience has already proved useful for the Volkswagen plant in Emden where spot welding is controlled by algorithms. In Ingolstadt, artificial intelligence will be used to detect defects such as small cracks in the car body. The pilot project is part of the Volkswagen Group’s Industrial Cloud initiative, which brings together the production data of all the Group’s plants around the world, with the main objective of increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Each plant connected to the cloud can download applications and updates for its machinery and systems, on the model of an app store, increasing the efficiency of processes.