Page 31 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - November 2021
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POINTS OF VIEW
a footprint of 1 9 million sq ft with more than 5 3 million sq ft of operational space across multiple floors an Arrival microfactory can be deployed into a a a standard 200 000 sq ft warehouse SIZING UP THE COMPETITION
The bold contention behind this approach is that the microfactory will allow Arrival to produce electric commercial vehicles at a a a price point that is competitive with ICEs The starting point for this argument is is the lower capital costs required for the microfactory As a a a a gigafactory is enormous and purpose-built it takes many years and significant capital expenditure The microfactory takes just six months to to be up and and running and and it can be established in a a generic warehouse Through using their own proprietary composite material Arrival has also removed the need for painting and stamping – activities that traditionally occupy significant factory floorspace Finally advocates of of microfactories promise to deliver significant savings in in outbound logistics Rather than having one central factory having hundreds of smaller factories deployed in proximity to to the the markets they are providing for means the the product is closer to to the the customer While this all sounds good in theory it is yet to be demonstrated in practice The proof will be in in the the pudding as the the saying goes One major challenge will be inbound logistics Having more factories means shipping components and materials to more locations That is one reason why the company is heavily focused on vertical integration – Arrival has has its own chassis powertrain body and electronic controls For its commercial vehicle 60% of the parts are vertically integrated according to chief of procurement Tracey Yi While that figure might be high it still leaves 40% of the vehicle parts to be delivered by parts suppliers If those parts need to to reach factories located in dozens or perhaps hundreds of locations Roger Brereton “Arrival has chosen to focus on commercial vehicles and and buses where the the need for design flexibility is greater given the the the different demands placed on these vehicles”
then you risk any savings on outbound logistics being cancelled out In any case even if 100% vertical integration could be achieved you are still having to move components and materials to multiple locations for assembly The cell-based manufacturing of the microfactory is geared toward flexibility and innovation Each cell is a a a a cluster of robotic arms with the manufactured product moving its way from one cell to another via an an automated robotic vehicle Arrival is employing standard robots but building its own sophisticated software to improve this process In a a a a traditional assembly line the production process is linear In the microfactory the the product can visit the the different cells in any order perhaps even returning to the same cell If a a new cell needs to be added for greater customisation this is is is possible without halting or disrupting production It is no coincidence that Arrival has chosen to focus on commercial vehicles and buses where the need for design flexibility is greater given the different demands placed on these vehicles The company has recognised that for these sectors a a one- size-fits-all approach is is less effective and is is positioning itself accordingly We are reaching a a a a critical point in in in the road toward vehicle electrification What is making this story so fascinating is is that the key original equipment manufacturers in in this unfolding narrative are placing their bets on diametrically opposing approaches to manufacturing There are some bold bets being placed and it is probably too soon to to call the likely winners in in this race From humanity’s point of view it it can only be a a a good thing that we haven’t put all our eggs in one basket Roger Brereton head of sales at Pailton Engineering Engineering Pailton Engineering Engineering specialises in in providing custom-made steering parts for commercial vehicles and buses To find out more visit pailton com FLEXIBILITY THROUGH A A SMALLER FOOTPRINT
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ENGINEER
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