Airbus announces its €25mn investment at its aerospace site in Munich
Airbus has announced its plans to expand its aerospace activities at its site in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen, near Munich. Bavarian Minister-President Markus...
Airbus has announced its plans to expand its aerospace activities at its site in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen, near Munich. Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space have given the green light for the modernisation of solar array production for satellites, and for the commissioning of expanded clean rooms for optical satellite instruments at a cost of €25mn (US$28mn).
A global leader in aeronautics, space and related services, in 2017 Airbus generated revenues of €59bn (US$66bn).
In February 2019, Airbus will begin building an Industry 4.0 factory to automate and digitalise the production of solar arrays for satellites. This will entail a complete revamp of the production building, during which it will be expanded by 800 m2 to a total of 5,500 m2. A robotic assembly line will also be introduced.
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The investment demonstrates the company’s ability to remain competitive on the world market, while the automated assembly line will allow throughput times and costs to be halved. This state-of-the-art technology will safeguard 170 jobs and position the company to maximise future growth opportunities such as satellite constellations or ‘New Space’ approaches. Furthermore, ongoing cutting-edge research will be supported, particularly in the area of scientific satellites, such as the Jupiter mission or missions to the Sun or Mercury.
In addition, Airbus will use the clean room (expanded by 250 m2 to a total of 1,700 m2) for the integration of satellite-based optical instruments, an area in which Airbus has invested over €10mn at its Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen site.
The new clean room will be used by some of the 150 employees in the Optical Instruments business unit to build the MERLIN instrument (Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission). MERLIN is a Franco-German satellite project to measure the methane concentration in Earth’s atmosphere to improve understanding of climate change.
“The aerospace site in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen has not only shaped the history of cutting-edge technology over the last 60 years, it is also actively shaping the future. Today, our solar array production marks our entry into the age of Industry 4.0, with the site now boasting the largest clean room for optical satellite integration in Germany. This will improve our competitive standing worldwide and will contribute towards safeguarding local jobs,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.