Google Earth Connects Ford's Virtual Assembly

One of the biggest issues confronting global manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. is the difficulty encountered when trying to share best practices across sites, or foster communication between widely dispersed manufacturing centers.

To help address this issue, Allison Stephens, technical leader for Ford Motor Co. ergonomics, approached Marty Smets, a Ford ergonomics engineer, with the idea of using Google Earth to solve the problem.

Stephens’ idea led Ford to work with Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software business unit on the concept of providing virtual navigation within Ford’s assembly plants to help the company improve global collaboration and better share best practices.

The resulting software, known as IntoSite, is a cloud-based web application developed using the Google Earth infrastructure. IntoSite is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, with the software and the associated data hosted on the cloud and accessible via a web browser.

According to Siemens, IntoSite holds 2D and 3D versions of Ford’s assembly plants and allows users to navigate virtually through the plants—down to the workstations—to obtain a better understanding of global processes.

To read more about how Ford uses this system, visit www.automationworld.com/operations/ford-uses-google-earth-manufacturing-collaboration.

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