Microsoft & PwC develop ZF’s digital manufacturing platform
Following its selection of Microsoft and PwC Germany as its strategic partners, ZF - car parts manufacturer - aims to reduce conversion costs, improve inventory, performance and quality, and to make its workforce more efficient, by developing its digital manufacturing platform.
“The world is changing, and so is manufacturing. In these very turbulent times, it was especially important to us that we implement new digital solutions that enable our manufacturing to achieve higher flexibility and efficiency,” commented Gabriel González-Alonso, Head of ZF Corporate Production Management.
In combining the strengths and experience of both PwC Germany and Microsoft , ZF will work to translate complex technical information into valuable business insights. Its plant in northern Germany - ZF Diepholz - has been selected for a pilot project in which its process and workflows will be transformed with Microsoft Azure to build the company’s future Digital Manufacturing Platform (DMP).
Key focuses for the project include:
- Creating transparency of production performance from the plant as a whole as well as down to machine level
- Developing the traceability of production flows, as well as analysis and prediction of production, and quality outcomes
- Enhancing maintenance operations via machine monitoring and fault prediction
“To further digitize the ZF Diepholz plant, we will implement a transformation program with several additional use cases, all of which will be integrated into an end-to-end Smart Factory Transformation for ZF,” added Michael Bruns, Partner Digital Operations at PwC Germany.
“Our aim is to make this initiative not only a best practice for success at ZF, but also an industry-wide inspiration to other automotive customers endeavoring on their own digitisation projects. We see strong interest across the manufacturing sector globally to leverage digital technologies to drive quality as well as process optimization, and we’re excited for this project to serve as a true benchmark.” concluded Marianne Janik, Area Vice President, Microsoft Germany.
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.