Uniti Announces First Fully Digitalized Electric Vehicle Production Factory in the U.K.
Matthew Greenwood posted on October 30, 2018 |
Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer Uniti will establish the U.K.’s first fully digitalized electric vehicle (EV) production site at the heart of British Grand Prix racing: Silverstone Park.
The pilot production plant will be used to make the Uniti One electric car. It will also serve as a test model for the company’s configurable factory-in-the-box model of assembly plants.
Like the Uniti car itself, which was designed from scratch rather than adapted from conventional vehicle frameworks, the Silverstone Park facility is intended to revolutionize the way cars are made.
While details of how the factory will work are yet to be released, the company claims it will integrate Industry 4.0. In addition to working with the Silverstone Technology Cluster, a tech accelerator on the Silverstone Park grounds, Uniti has been developing partnerships in the U.K. with additive manufacturing and EV specialists, research and development engineers, and a global supply chain firm.
The factory will feature a concept of digital twinning: creating a complete digital representation of the car, down to individual nuts and bolts. This allows designers to test the vehicle extensively, including crash testing, and perfect it before committing to production. This cuts down significantly on the time and financial costs involved in developing a finished product by reducing the number of prototypes needed before a roadworthy model is released.
Digital twinning will also allow the carmaker to customize the vehicles built at licensed assembly plants throughout the world, tailoring them to the local market. For example, a factory in northern Europe would produce cars that can handle the winter, while a factory in Mexico wouldn’t have to.
“Once the Uniti pilot plant facility is fully operational, we can take this blueprint global,” said Sally Povolotsky, Uniti vehicle development director.
“Digital twinning is highly important for us as it allows Uniti to create cars at the source of demand and, as such, reduces the rail, air, and sea freight of our vehicles being transported globally,” the company said in a statement. “This encourages a sustainable, localized eco-system for developing our cars with the aim of reducing emissions and generating both jobs and revenue within our chosen markets.”
The U.K. facility adds to Uniti’s groundbreaking collection of Industry 4.0-enabled factories. The carmaker has already partnered with Siemens to build a fully automated factory in Sweden.
“Are you ready to change the future?” Uniti asks on its website—a challenge the company seems poised to back up with action even before the first production model hits the road in late 2019.
Want to read more about electric vehicles? Check out Electric Cars: Modelon and Rimacs’ Journey Toward Model-Based System Simulation.