- Tell us about Tofaş, what is your core business and role within the project?
Founded in 1968, Tofaş manufactures both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Tofaş is a joint venture of Koç Holding and Stellantis Group (Stellantis was founded in 2021 by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA groups). With an annual production capacity of 450 thousand vehicles and with nearly 7 thousand employees, Tofaş is Turkey’s eighth biggest industrial enterprise and a strategically important production centre in Stellantis. The platform will be demonstrated in the paint shop at Tofaş, which is consuming nearly half of the total energy and is the primer source for VOC emissions in Tofaş.
- Why did your organisation get involved in the ECOFACT project? How does this activity fit with the normal business of your organisation?
Within the scope of the “World Class Production” (WCM) methodology applied in the ex-FCA Group’s 400 factories worldwide, Tofaş is the company with the highest score among all automobile factories. Tofaş continuously increase its productivity through cutting edge technologies used in production processes. Research projects are important for Tofaş, which enable to be involved in the early phases of the development of cutting-edge technologies. Since 2011, Tofaş has been involved in 6 FP7 and H2020 projects related to industry and production processes. ECOFACT project is the current one which will increase Tofaş’s competitiveness in terms of energy consumption and improve environmental effects.
- How will the outputs of the ECOFACT project help production system energy performance?
After the basic computerization and connectivity steps related to digitalization, I4.0 has 4 consecutive steps; visibility, transparency, predictability, and adaptability according to Fraunhofer IPT sources. The ECOFACT platform will allow visibility by building a real-time digital shadow that will enable to make data-based decisions. It will also create visibility from end to end for the entire production processes. This means that shop floor people can grasp complex interactions and run data analytics for energy projects. It will also help for predictability. It will be possible to simulate future scenarios and prepare for the upcoming situations.
- What are the technical challenges your work in ECOFACT is trying to overcome?
Paint shops are the most inflexible processes which requires high investments and are used for long time periods in automotive plants. It is very difficult to renew the entire production lines and engineering projects are utilised to upgrade and extend the lifetime of the shop floor equipment. In Tofaş paint shop, some equipment and lines date backs to 1980’s and the newest ones are older than 15 years which can be considered as young compared to the 50 years old or more similar ones in Europe. In this brown field shop floor, it is still necessary connect lots of current gauges and sensors and add additional ones in order enable visibility. There is still an ongoing intense effort to connect the stand-alone PLC systems in shop floor to current IT systems which will be necessary to further connections to ECOFACT platform. It is also evident that, it is impossible to get the 3d data of the current production lines for our old lines some of whose manufacturers are not existing today.
- What positive impacts will the projects have when complete?
Every year, numerous energy savings projects have been completed in Tofaş because of the Tofaş engineers’ strong continuous improvement culture. In the last 5 years, average 50K GJ/year energy was saved due to these projects. The paint shop played an integral role in this figure. The ECOFACT platform will open a door for new improvement ideas and projects. Real time monitoring and the incoming data will allow to react very fast to inefficiencies and make a lot of hidden opportunities visible. Tofaş project team set a target improve energy losses by 20% and emissions 15% in paint shop based on the 2020 data.
- Can you tell us one interesting fact about your factory or the products it produces?
Paint shops in automotive plants are equipped with state-of-the-art coating lines, dozens of robots for sealing and painting processes but, ostrich feathers are still the most efficient material to clean the body before the painting process. These feathers do an extremely thorough job of removing loose dust and particles of dirt.