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Co-operation on digital transformation for diecasting

To support their goal of manufacturing quality parts, Toyota Industries Corporation and Siemens have co-operated to develop artificial intelligence (AI) that can predict product abnormalities in aluminium diecasting, a key process in automotive air conditioning compressor production.

The development is one of the world’s first to use defect prediction AI for diecasting. It improves quality and productivity by utilising the AI application in Industrial Edge, the Siemens edge computing platform for industry. The initiative is an innovative example of digital transformation in manufacturing, and Toyota Industries Corporation aims to use it to further evolve their technology and incorporate it into their production plants in Japan and overseas. Siemens hopes that more businesses in the manufacturing industry will adopt their digitalisation and automation solutions such as Industrial Edge. The diecasting process is challenging to manage due to a range of constantly changing production conditions such as variations in the molten aluminium temperature or the injection rate. Success relies on the judgement of experienced workers, and sometimes the parts require secondary processing to handle abnormalities and maintain high quality standards.

During development, the two companies used a Siemens Simatic S7-1500 controller to gather big data totalling approximately 40,000 data points per diecasting shot at the model line and then analysed the data using AI technology. They succeeded in preventing defects and improving quality by monitoring the production status in real time and automatically predicting equipment abnormalities that lead to quality issues. The production data is processed by the defect prediction AI on Industrial Edge, enabling instant analysis of the data on production conditions at the time of a shot and assessment of the part quality immediately after the casting. This series of AI technologies boosts productivity, improves quality, and transforms how operators work.

Aluminium diecasting is a high-speed moulding process in which molten aluminium is shot into a die at high pressure. It is ideal for the accurate manufacture of metal cast parts that demand high dimensional precision, and therefore is often used for automotive parts that require high quality and reliability. The aluminium die cast parts made at the Toyota Industries Corporation production plant in Obu, Japan, have excellent airtightness and high pressure resistance. They are essential for the high quality Toyota Industries Corporation compressors used in automotive air conditioning, a field in which they proudly hold the largest share of the global market*. The objective of Siemens was to contribute to operational improvements with Siemens Industrial Edge, while Toyota Industries Corporation aimed to increase quality and productivity. The alignment of these goals with the diecasting process led to this development, during which they demonstrated proof of concept across two years and achieved a successful outcome. Based on this result, they will continue pursuing technological advancements to provide better products for their customers throughout the world. 

“Digital transformation is a game changer. I am delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Toyota Industries Corporation in this revolutionary endeavour and to work together to forge the future,” says Rainer Brehm, CEO of factory automation, Siemens AG. “We will continue to develop and provide solutions for industries incorporating the latest technologies and to contribute to optimised and sustainable manufacturing.”

“It is significant that Toyota Industries Corporation has successfully implemented AI technology and achieved outcomes in the diecasting process, which is where important compressor parts are produced. I am also proud that we have contributed to the practical use of Industrial Edge, the Siemens edge computing platform for industry,” says Yuji Ishizaki, senior executive officer, member of the board and general manager of compressor division, Toyota Industries Corporation. “We will continue to offer new value for customers and to pursue even better working methods by embracing the use of advanced digital technologies in the production field.”

*Based on Toyota Industries Corporation’s assessment

Siemens Digital Industries (DI) is a leading innovator in automation and digitalisation. In close co-operation with its partners and customers, DI is the driving force for the digital transformation in the process and manufacturing industries. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, Siemens provides companies of all sizes with all the necessary products, along with consistent solutions and services for the integration and digitalisation of the entire value added chain. Optimised for the specific requirements of individual industries, this unique portfolio enables customers to enhance their productivity and flexibility. DI continuously extends its range to include innovations and enable the integration of future-oriented technologies. Siemens Digital Industries, with its headquarters in Nuremberg, has a workforce of around 76,000 employees worldwide.

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. The company is active around the globe, focusing on the areas of power generation and distribution, intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems, and automation and digitalisation in the process and manufacturing industries. Through the separately managed company Siemens Mobility, a leading supplier of smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is shaping the world market for passenger and freight services. www.siemens.com

Toyota Industries Corporation was established in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture in 1926 for the manufacture and sale of the Type G Automatic Loom invented by Toyota Industries Corporation founder Sakichi Toyoda. Afterwards, the company’s field of business was expanded to automotive related fields such as vehicles, engines, and car air conditioning compressors, as well as industrial vehicles, such as lift trucks, and other materials handling equipment and systems related to transportation, storage, and sorting of goods. They continued to devote themselves to research and development to create new value as well as to providing products and services that would satisfy their customers. Currently, they have 256 consolidated subsidiary companies. www.toyota-industries.com