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Update from Perseus: Improving Manufacturing Line Flexibility in Anticipation of Automotive Electrification

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Image: © Jaguar Land Rover

 

About Perseus

The transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric-powered vehicles (EVs) is certain – from 2030 ICE vehicles will be banned from sale in the UK. However, the pace of conversion in each market and the uptake of emerging technologies, such as new types of batteries, electric drives or even hydrogen fuel cells, are difficult to precisely predict. This makes it almost impossible to forecast production volumes and sales with reasonable accuracy. Automotive OEMs are exploring how they could increase the flexibility of their manufacturing operations in order to accommodate fluctuations in the demand for each type of powertrain in real time.

Currently, Jaguar Land Rover is leading research into advancing the electrification of one of its manufacturing facilities in the UK. The Perseus project consortium has been looking at how Jaguar Land Rover’s Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) in the UK could flexibly produce electric drive units (EDUs) alongside petrol and diesel engines. This will ensure that Jaguar Land Rover is ready for a future of electrification, while being able to meet customer demand and provide a complete powertrain choice.

Building all the electric vehicles that customers will demand is at the heart of Reimagine, the new Jaguar Land Rover global strategy. The Perseus project will ensure current world-class machinery, systems and processes can produce internal combustion engines (ICEs) and EDUs efficiently in the same facility. Moreover, to minimise necessary investment in new processes, Perseus has been exploring how existing manufacturing capability and processes for ICE production can be repurposed for EDU production.

Following Perseus, further capital investment, and upskilling of the workforce, Jaguar Land Rover is expected to be able to manufacture both ICEs and EDUs at the same UK production site, allowing rapid response to fluctuations in the demand for battery electric vehicles.

 

HSSMI’s Role in Perseus

HSSMI has led the overall project management of Perseus as well as the delivery of technical activities around the EDU manufacturing process.

At the outset of the project, HSSMI created a manufacturing system concept design to study the flexibility required by Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facilities. This was done by analysing surrogate product data and developing a set of assumptions based upon the data.

Furthermore, based on work from our project partners Jaguar Land Rover and MTC, HSSMI used the manufacturing process sequences for the main EDU components, to develop a strategy to reuse current ICE assets to produce them with enough flexibility to attend required business demands.

For assembled components, HSSMI developed a manufacturing concept, with inputs from project partners. This included Process Planning, Bill of Sequence, Bill of Equipment, alternative layout schematics, process simulation and Strategic Level Cost analysis.

Finally, HSSMI analysed the impact that the changes to line layouts would have on Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facility, including logistics and stock control. The output of this analysis will later be incorporated into the manufacturing concept design for all components and integrated into a single facility capable of flexible product and volume variations. Initial analysis indicates a much simpler assembly process for EDU components compared to those in ICE products, translating into a smaller manufacturing footprint requirement and a less labour-intensive system. This opens the opportunity for manufacturers to use space for additional business needs (like batteries manufacturing for example) and for upskilling the workforce to be able to cope with new business demands.

 

The Perseus project is expected to close at the end of the year. In the lead-up to the project close, we will be publishing findings from the project, so keep an eye on our website for more news.

 

Perseus project partners are Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham City University, Fives Landis, Horizon Instruments, JW Froehlich UK, Mapal, MTC, and HSSMI. The project has been undertaken with funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

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