Changan Auto’s digital transformation process faces several issues common in the automotive industry. These challenges are also prevalent in other production-based transformations:
* Diverse Connectivity in Vehicle Assembly: A common challenge in automotive manufacturing, the vehicle assembly area at Changan Auto represents the largest workshop in the factory. It houses a wide array of equipment used for assembling cars, and the methods of connecting these devices are inconsistent. Some rely on traditional cables, while others utilize Wi-Fi. This heterogeneity in access methods creates complexities in equipment management, a challenge shared by many in the industry. To enhance operational efficiency, there is an urgent need to standardize and streamline how these assets connect and are managed.
* Dependency on Physical Servers: Another prevalent challenge faced by automotive manufacturers is the reliance on physical servers for running crucial management systems such as ERP, MES, and SCADA within the assembly workshop. These dedicated servers have limitations when it comes to scalability, often incurring high maintenance costs due to custom development. Furthermore, the lack of interoperability between different systems necessitates complex custom integration, making it challenging to upgrade, expand, or migrate these legacy systems.
In this Catalyst, the team aims to build a 5G Industry Edge Cube solution: an integrated technology solution designed to:
* Standardize connectivity: The 5G Edge Cube offers a standardized method for connecting and managing diverse equipment used in areas like vehicle assembly. It replaces inconsistent connectivity methods, such as cables and Wi-Fi, with a unified and efficient approach.
* Modernize legacy systems: By leveraging edge computing and 5G technology, the 5G Edge Cube enables the transformation of legacy systems that were once reliant on physical servers. These legacy systems often face scalability restrictions, high maintenance costs, and interoperability challenges. The Edge Cube provides a modern, adaptable, and cost-effective solution.
* Enhance real-time data processing: The 5G Edge Cube offers localized data processing capabilities, enabling on-demand computing, storage, and networking at the edge of the network. Critical systems, such as Manufacturing Execution, Warehouse Management, and AGV Scheduling, are virtualized and deployed directly on the Edge Cube. This allows for real-time optimization of operations, taking advantage of the ultra-low latency of 5G for instantaneous feedback, navigation, and collision avoidance.
* Improve resilience and security in industrial settings: In addition to its data processing capabilities, the Edge Cube enhances system resilience, adaptability, and security. For instance, in the context of modernizing auto electrical testing systems, test schema and data injection are deployed on an MEC server within the 5G Edge Industry Cube. Tests can now be executed on-demand based on commands transmitted over the 5G network, improving system reliability.
The project leverages the TM Forum ODA framework for product requirements and design. For instance, the "TMF eTOM process Framework" aids in defining business scope, planning functional architecture, and deploying applications. The Information Framework (SID) defines business entities, while the ODA Functional Framework Architecture maps function blocks and business processes, providing comprehensive management capabilities for the project.