Renault and Google partner up to advance production process

Phil Curry | 09 Jul 2020

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Phil Curry

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Phil Curry, Autovista24 Editor, is a seasoned automotive journalist, always keen to seek out and explain the latest industry developments

09 July 2020

Groupe Renault and Google Cloud have entered into a new partnership to accelerate the digitisation of the carmaker’s production facilities and supply chain. Advances in manufacturing interconnectivity, machine learning, and real-time data, otherwise known as industry 4.0, will also receive a boost.

The carmaking group has been working on its own digital platform since 2016. This involves collecting and connecting industrial data from 22 of its sites and more than 2,500 of its machines. By partnering with the cloud-computing service, Renault hopes to optimise its industrial data-management platform.

Industry 4.0

Google Cloud has vast experience with smart analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Utilising this knowledge, the carmaker looks to improve its production quality, supply chain and manufacturing efficiency, and to reduce its environmental impact through energy savings.

José Vicente de los Mozos, director of manufacturing and logistics called the collaboration a ‘perfect illustration of Groupe Renault’s digital strategy, applied here to the industrial field.’

‘This agreement and the commitment of our IT, manufacturing and supply-chain management teams will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our industry 4.0 plan designed to transform and connect our production sites and logistics processes around the world to improve our standards of excellence and performance. This partnership is also an asset for Groupe Renault employees who will benefit from high-level training in digital data management,’ he explained.

The two partners plan to build a scalable program as part of an employee training drive. Renault hopes to enhance its engineering, manufacturing and IT teams’ skills via coworking alongside sessions with the Google team.

‘The automotive industry has innovation in its DNA, and there is immense potential for digital technology to have a significant impact on production,’ said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. ‘We are proud to be partnering with Groupe Renault to help revolutionise the future of automotive manufacturing and power the next generation of supply-chain excellence.’

Volkswagen Industrial Cloud

The news of Renault’s partnership with Google Cloud follows an announcement made by Volkswagen Group (VW) last year. Teaming up with Amazon Web services (AWS), the German manufacturing group also sought to develop an industrial cloud project.

Dubbed the ‘Volkswagen Industrial Cloud,’ the project looked to combine data from all of the group’s machines, plants and systems from across its sites. The aim was to optimise production processes and improve productivity, allowing them to meet goals set out by the manufacturer.

By taking advantage of AWS technology and services, VW claimed it could create an industrial cloud as an open industry platform. This would mean its other partners from industry, logistics and sales could use it in the future.

Ford’s 5G network

More recently, Ford received backing from the UK Government to introduce 5G connectivity to its electric-vehicle (EV) manufacturing process. Delivered by Vodafone Business, a private network will be installed this year in the new electric power-train facility on Ford’s Dunton Campus. This 5G setup promises reduced delays, wider bandwidth, improved security and reliability, and faster deployment time.

By the time installation is complete in the autumn, the Dunton site will have the fastest possible connectivity alongside the consortium’s second network at welding research specialists TWI, based in Cambridge. Both sites’ connected equipment will feature real-time control, analysis and remote expert support, ensuring that new manufacturing processes are shop floor-ready.

As consumers look forward to increasingly intelligent cars, it appears this advanced technology is not just reserved for vehicles but is integral to the manufacturing process too.

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