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The use of smart technology, such as virtual reality, is increasingly simplifying international logistics at Audi's plants worldwide.

16 Feb 2020 | International News : Germany

Audi is counting on smart technologies to simplify its logistics.

Digital shelf labelling at Audi's Gyor plant means logistics specialists now no longer need to update the labelling by hand
The company tested digital shelf labelling at its plant in Gyor, Hungary, for the first time last year. This new technology is equipped with what are known as e-ink displays, which are also used in e-book readers.

When names, numbers, or the arrangement of the parts in the shelf change, logistics specialists now no longer need to update the labelling by hand. Information can also be displayed at short notice quickly, for example if a part is out of stock and is to be replaced with a different part.

Now, one of the goals for the technology is to implement fully automatic updates. With digital shelf labelling, Audi is taking another step toward paperless order picking.

Digital helpers like these are just one example of the use of smart technology in the automotive manufacturer's Logistics division. "We are making targeted use of the advantages of digitalisation at our production sites worldwide," says Dieter Braun, Head of Supply Chain.

Driverless transport systems at Gyor use laser scanners to transport parts to workstations automatically
The driverless transport systems that have been in use at the Audi plants for many years are another example of increasing digitalisation. The system transports parts to the workstations automatically, such as in the electric motor production in Gyor where there is no assembly line. The system uses laser scanners to orient itself in the production hall and find the optimum route.

This highly flexible procedure is made possible by algorithms and machine learning, controlled by a smart IT system in the control station. This enables IT to keep track of all systems, all driverless transport vehicles, and the product, even without a fixed assembly line sequence.

Another smart solution brings Audi employees worldwide together is the use Virtual Reality (VR) to work together group-wide and across locations in virtual spaces. In packaging logistics, for example, employees have been training with VR for several years.

The training is designed like a video game and can be adapted to suit other activities as well - no programming skills are required. The company is also counting on VR technology in the production of the Audi e-tron GT, which will roll off the line at the Bollinger Hofe starting in 2020 together with the Audi R8.

As part of a pilot project, the logistics planners in Neckarsulm are currently testing how special containers can be planned and tested entirely in a virtual space and without any physical prototypes. These containers are used for the particularly sensitive parts of the cars, such as electronics, head lights, or the windshield. Developing the special containers with VR is less expensive and is also better for the environment.
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