Toshiba Digital & Consulting Corporation (hereinafter TDX) and Spain’s Gestamp, the global leader in metal components for automobiles, have announced that they are cooperating in a project to bring advanced monitoring and analysis to the welding of vehicle chassis parts. By drawing on know-how from the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), and utilizing data from camera images and acoustic emission (AE) sensors, the companies aim to secure very high precision detection of weld seam quality, which will contribute to improved vehicle safety.
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Overview of the Initiative (Graphic: Business Wire)
Gestamp is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of metal components for automobiles, with more than 100 factories in 22 countries. Gestamp is promoting a number of projects under the Industry 4.0 initiative, applying digital technology and data analysis to the realization of more efficient manufacturing plants and more consistent and reliable production processes.
TDX has been working with Gestamp since April 2018 on a proof of concept initiative that has monitored the quality of the welds in chassis parts produced at a Gestamp plant in the United Kingdom. This initiative brings AE sensors typically used to test for damage in bridges and large buildings to the manufacturing process. The sensors detect the characteristics of acoustic waves in the high frequency band, and Toshiba’s AI analysis technology uses the data to identify welding failures. Over the last 17 months, Gestamp has validated the initiative and its ability to ensure the quality of welds in chassis parts.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd., an investor in both Gestamp and TDX, promoted cooperation between the companies and facilitated the project.
TDX, along with Toshiba Corporation and Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation, have built on the proof of concept results and now aiming to further improve the welding detection technology. Drawing on the rich manufacturing expertise of Toshiba Group, the companies have developed an IoT solution that applies Toshiba’s AI analysis technology to data from internal welding quality detection by AE sensors, along with surface welding quality detection based on camera image data.
The three companies are now deploying this upgraded solution at a Gestamp plant in Germany. Proving tests will continue until March next year, and are expected to increase the precision of the welding quality detection rate, enable deployment at other Gestamp factories, and accelerate efforts toward full-scale commercialization.
René González, Advanced Manufacturing Director at Gestamp, said: “Gestamp is proud of this system to check welding seams with acoustic and image recognition technologies. We hope to use this solution in different Group plants to exceed our customers’ expectations in the quality of our products.”
Noriyasu Okitani, President & CEO of TDX, said, “By combining Toshiba Group’s rich experience and knowledge in manufacturing technology and digital technology, and by utilizing IoT and AI in a cyber-physical system (CPS), we hope to provide a unique solution that contributes to raising the high quality of parts produced at Gestamp’s manufacturing facilities around the world.”
Katsutoshi Yokoi, General Manager of the Automotive Parts Business Division, Iron & Steel Products Business Unit of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. said: “Mitsui intends to contribute to Gestamp’s business by fully utilizing our assets, and this project will use the advanced technology of Toshiba, our key partner, to advance operational improvement and strengthen competitiveness at Gestamp. We are very pleased to have both companies cooperating to aim for full scale commercialization.”
Gestamp is a multinational specialized in the design, development and manufacture of highly engineered metal components for top vehicle manufacturers. It develops products with an innovative design to produce lighter and safer vehicles, which offer improved energy consumption and a reduced environmental impact. Its products cover the areas of body-in-white, chassis and mechanisms.
The company is present in 22 countries with more than 100 manufacturing plants and 2 under construction, 13 R&D centers and a workforce of more than 43,000 employees worldwide. Its turnover was €8,548m in 2018. Gestamp is listed on the Spanish stock market under the GEST ticker.
About Toshiba Digital & Consulting Corporation
As a global business innovator in digital transformation that promotes cyber-physical systems, we work closely with our customers to create value. We draw on the knowledge and achievements that Toshiba Group has cultivated over many years in a wide range of businesses, leverage the strengths of digital technologies such as AI and IoT, and focus our expertise on the key business domains of energy, social infrastructure, manufacturing and mobility. From consulting to service design, we identify potential problems and the seeds for next generation growth we deliver consistent services all the way through to confirmation of value creation.
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