The vehicle assembly process is a tricky thing–just ask Toyota, which has had to deal with massive brake recalls over the past few weeks. Things get even more complicated when you add expensive and rapidly-changing electric vehicle batteries into the mix. For its part, GM has turned to enterprise software from Apriso to make sure that the Chevrolet Volt battery assembly process goes smoothly.
Apriso’s FlexNet software, set to be implemented by HP at the Volt battery assembly plant, provides real-time control of manufacturing operations. The software guides operators on what to do, improves the quality and efficiency of assembly, and even manages warehouse operations. “Each of these batteries is very expensive, so you don’t want to have to scrap them in production and you don’t want problems to get out,” explained Tom Comstock, the Executive Vice President of Apriso. “[FlexNet] is an insurance policy to ratchet up the quality of the overall car and guarantee as high of a yield as possible in the battery manufacturing plant.”
GM already uses FlexNet at plants throughout the U.S and China, but the software may prove most useful in the highly changeable EV battery industry. That’s because Apriso’s suite can easily adapt to new technologies. “Flexibility is critical, because the batteries being made today won’t be made five years from now,” Comstock said. In other words, expect to see Apriso software (or software like it) used by other battery manufacturers soon enough.