AUBURN HILLS, MI — Faurecia, a leading automotive supplier, unveiled a $64 million state-of-the-art, data-driven manufacturing facility in Columbus, IN. Columbus South, a 400,000 square-foot facility, will employ 450 people and produce a new, high-tech emissions control product for the commercial vehicle industry.
"This facility represents our entry into Industry 4.0, a revolutionary concept incorporating connectivity, automation, data processing and hardware to advance the manufacturing industry," said Mike Galarno, plant manager of Columbus South. "We are proud to be the first plant to incorporate many of these leading technologies under one roof to create efficient systems and an innovative working experience for employees."
With this facility, Faurecia is driving forward the company's digital transformation by ushering in technologies that are at the forefront of modern-day manufacturing. "Manufacturing is sometimes stereotyped as dirty and requiring few skills," said Dave DeGraaf, president of Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies North America. "Columbus South contributes to the shifting landscape of the industry to one that is modern, clean and technologically advanced, and aimed at attracting a new generation of employees with different and advanced skillsets."
The Columbus South facility's digital environment will feature a variety of new technologies, systems and processes that reflect the improvements of Industry 4.0, including:
- Quality through laser scanning and early detection of variation
- Self-learning autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) to transport component parts to the assembly line
- Continuous data collection, which enables employees to predict and prevent equipment failures
- A completely paperless environment keeping employees connected and informed with real time information
- An open-concept design and digital screens, laptops and smartphones to encourage collaboration
In addition to these advancements, Columbus South will also have a combination of collaborative robots, or "cobots," automated robotic vehicles and visual communication techniques designed to foster real-time collaboration and communication. Collectively, Columbus South is expected to analyze terabytes of data daily, requiring a full-time, on-site mathematician to continually mine data, cull insights and forecast an issue before it occurs.
"Columbus South isn't only about the product and the processes," DeGraaf said. "People have been an important part of the equation. Ultimately, these advanced technologies, like the AIVs and cobots, will enable employees to work more efficiently, experience less physical stress and improve work-life balance."
The new plant will be an addition to Faurecia's existing presence in Columbus. It will join Faurecia's Gladstone Plant and Columbus Tech Center, increasing the number of employees in the region over 2,000.