Currently reading: What the car factory of the future might look like
ABB, one of Europe’s largest robot manufacturers, believes radical new production methods are coming

A radical reshaping of automotive production lines, to include flexible manufacturing cells, robotic guided vehicles and automated parts warehouses moved to trackside, are the key to making electric cars affordable, Europe’s second-biggest maker of robots, ABB, believes.

ABB is pushing a radical new production system that abandons the traditional assembly/trim line, with its dozens of sequential assembly stations, in favour of multiple flexible manufacturing cells between which vehicles and parts bins are hauled on trolleys by automated mobile robotic vehicles.

Rethinking production to drive manufacturing costs down will compensate for the high cost of essential componentry in electrics, and is emerging as a key pivot point in automotive manufacturing, believes ABB.

“OEMs have got to reduce the price of battery-electric cars and that means more efficient factory operations, said ABB global powertrain group manager Patrick Matthews.

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