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Faurecia Improves Parts Traceability With the Internet of Things

One of the world’s largest automotive equipment suppliers is rolling out Kepware’s IoT Gateway across its operations in 34 countries to provide detailed traceability for its OEM customers.

Alex Herbert, IoT major account manager, Kepware Technologies
Alex Herbert, IoT major account manager, Kepware Technologies

With 330 sites, including 30 R&D centers in 34 countries around the world, Faurecia is a global manufacturing leader in automotive seating, interior systems, automotive exteriors, and emissions control technologies. Faurecia is recognized as a pioneer in technological innovations—reducing the weight of vehicles, offering customized comfort and style solutions, and mitigating environment impacts.

The challenge

While Faurecia has a long track record of providing its customers with exemplary products, the company faced an increasing need from its customers to provide traceability for the parts it produced. The large automotive OEMs expected Faurecia to track its operations and production processes and make that information available to them on demand.

Although this traceability data had always been available, Faurecia’s solutions for collecting and distributing it were not on par with the efficiency and scalability of today’s Internet of things (IoT) solutions and supporting architectures.

The approach

Realizing its need for improved connectivity, data access and scalability, Faurecia set out to find a communication solution that could connect the various PLCs on the factory floor to IJ Core, Faurecia’s proprietary parts fabrication and manufacturing execution system (MES). After careful research, Faurecia turned to Kepware’s flagship connectivity platform, KEPServerEX, and began a pilot project in its factory in Porto Real, Brazil.

Faurecia implemented the REST Server Agent in the IoT Gateway for KEPServerEX. The developers working on Faurecia’s MES were already comfortable with REST/HTTP (protocols ubiquitous in IT, on the web, and in IoT platforms) and were excited about the new middleware language that used KEPServerEX connections they already had in place.

Using the IoT Gateway, the company began collecting data from the shop floor and communicating it to a local server in each plant running IJ Core over REST/HTTP. IJ Core was then able to store that information, satisfying customer requests for traceability spanning several years.

The results

By implementing the IoT Gateway as the communications medium between PLCs on the plant floor and IJ Core, Faurecia is able to provide customers with the product traceability they require. With new visibility into the manufacturing data of parts provided by Faurecia, the world’s largest automotive OEMs are able to satisfy regulatory requirements and improve overall product quality for consumers.

Internal Faurecia stakeholders are benefiting as well. Operators on the machine floor note that communications are much faster, and the quality assurance department has the industrial data it needs to analyze production quality.

Furthermore, technology from Kepware is helping bridge the gap between operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) by enabling executives in Faurecia’s boardroom to access and leverage data to boost efficiencies across the organization.

Since implementing the IoT Gateway for KEPServerEX, Faurecia has decreased its transparency project from a complicated six-month scope to a functioning solution in just a couple of days. This resulted in significant time and revenue savings—and satisfied customers. Given the ease of implementation and overall success of the Porto Real pilot, Faurecia plans to standardize on KEPServerEX in its North American, Asian and European factories in 2016.

“We see huge potential with the IoT Gateway and are excited to deploy it across the 34 countries we operate in,” said Rafael Unruh, competence center manager at Faurecia. “We’re seeing benefits from this implementation from the boardroom down to the shop floor, and only expect them to increase as more locations utilize it. We’re able to be smarter and more nimble in our decision-making, which leads to better products and services for our customers.”

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