Improving production with automated electric drives
Chinese car manufacturer NIO has integrated a new and powerful automation system into the production of its electric drives. The new system ensures speedy and reliable co-line production for the electric vehicle manufacturer's third-generation asynchronous and permanent magnet motors, both of which are integral parts of its proprietary electric drive systems (EDS).
The holistic solution includes main assembly lines for E-motors, gearbox manufacturing and inverter assembly lines, as well as end-of-line (EOL) testing processes. This enables the production of up to one million units per year. The system can be used for NIO electric sedans, coupes and SUVs, as well as in selected models of the ALPS sub-brand.
New adapter system offers more freedom
The state-of-the-art automation solution offers adaptability and scalability to allow the customer to adjust the production environment to meet the diverse process requirements. To increase the flexibility of the production line and allow both electric drive systems to be manufactured together, a new adapter system with zero-point positioning was developed in collaboration with NIO's E-Drive team. This innovative accessory effectively combines design, process and control standards and enables different assembly requirements to be met while maximising adaptability.
The highly automated production environment is equipped with 3D vision-guided robots, autonomously operated material handling vehicles (AGVs) and tool loading systems. This contributes significantly to improving production performance. In addition, the wide application range of quadrocular stereovision 3D cameras has successfully overcome the traditional limitations of field of view and reach of gripping. This not only enables excellent repeatability, but also automatic positioning and assembly of parts.
"Increase efficiency and reduce costs"
"When implementing cutting-edge technological solutions, experience and know-how play a crucial role in success. Throughout our partnership, we were deeply impressed by Comau's extensive expertise in the assembly of electric drive systems. The innovative solution has reliably supported the project and helped us overcome various challenges and achieve our desired results," said Alan Zeng, Senior Vice President of NIO and CEO of XPT.
"Our collaboration follows a simultaneous engineering approach that fosters close collaboration between both parties and efficiently drives project progress. This approach not only ensures progress and cost control, but also guarantees the quality, performance and reliability of the final product."
"Given the rapid growth of new energy vehicles in China, a market where production rates and sales volumes have increased by 42.4% and 44.1% respectively in the first half of 2023, the demand for electric drive systems has increased significantly," explained Jeff Yuan, Comau Head of Countries Cluster APAC.
"Our joint efforts with NIO to create a highly automated production environment has enabled the customer to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve the performance of its next-generation EDS technology."