Volkswagen: Scania’s Europe cab production fully fossil-free
In an announcement made by Volkswagen, its brand Scania will enter 2021 fully fossil-free at its cab production plant in Oskarshamn, Sweden.
The announcement marks the brand’s first major production plant to successfully phase out carbon emitting production elements.
With 2015 as its baseline year, Scania has committed - in line with the Science Based Target initiative - to halve its own carbon emissions by 2025, as well as reduce its emissions from the use of its products by 20%.
Efforts are now being made by the brand to reach its targets, with its Oskarshamn plant being not only first to ‘cross the finishing line’ but exceeds the set target.
“This is a major step, not only for us here in Oskarshamn but for Scania as a whole. And we’re glad that we’ve been able to contribute to the target,” commented Roger Blezell, Plant Manager, Scania.
Scania’s Oskarshamn plant manufactures 70 000 cabs a year, primarily for its European assembly plant in France, the Netherlands and Sweden. Its highly automated process includes five steps: pressing, bodywork, primer painting, topcoat painting and assembly.
The largest contribution to meet its targets was the conversion of its three ovens, – water drying, powder and seam sealing – for the primer painting process from fossil diesel to the biofuel RME (Rapeseed Methyl Ester), which alone reduced its impact by 60%.
“The greatest challenge with the RME project was to obtain cost-neutrality. Normally, what’s good for the environment is also good for your wallet but in this case it’s more expensive. Despite that, we’ve chosen to implement the project and instead recover the added cost through other energy-saving measures and higher productivity,” commented Pernilla Zackrisson, Oskarshamn’s Sustainability Manager.
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’.