by Eric Cohen
If you read the news – or follow our blogs – you know that WiTricity is focused on delivering wireless charging for electric vehicles. But as you know through your own daily activities, wireless charging is used for many other purposes, including your phone. It’s also used for many commercial applications, like wireless EV charging. So, with so much talk about electric vehicles, have you ever wondered how EVs are made?
We’re all familiar with the auto assembly line, which was developed for the Ford Model T and began operation on October 7, 1924. A lot has evolved in the last nearly 100 years!
Flexibility and Efficiency with AGVs
One of the latest ways the assembly line has evolved is the introduction of matrix manufacturing systems and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Because a matrix manufacturing system uses a multi-variant production program, AGVs are perfect for the factory floor due to their flexibility and efficiency. AGVs transport heavy materials throughout the factory and deliver them to the point where they are needed.
One example is the assembly plant and final assembly hall for the Lotus Emira, the last internal combustion engine vehicle from this legendary British sports car maker. At this plant, 34 medium-sized AGVs transport body shells throughout the entire assembly hall in a stop-and-go process. They stop at a work station for precisely the time necessary to carry out the work that’s needed and then travel to the next station until they reach the end of the loop. The cool part of the process is that each time the AGVs stop, they charge – wirelessly! There’s no need to take time out of the day to go to a charger to get charged, nor does anyone need to walk onto the factory floor to plug them in. Just Park and Charge™. In fact, factories using wirelessly charged AGVs have found they need less AGVs since they don’t need backups to go on the assembly floor while other AGVs are charging.
Wireless Charging Creates a Safer and More Efficient Factory
Powering this factory-of-the-future is a wireless charging system from Wiferion, a licensee of WiTricity’s wireless charging technology. Wireless charging on the factory floor is much safer than plugging in and, with wireless charging, factories don’t have to think about charge management. When an AGV is parked – or waiting for a project to complete – it’s charging.
To learn more about the factory-of-the-future that’s here today, download the white paper.