Volvo, the Swedish global luxury vehicle manufacturer, has started exporting its brand new S90 long-wheelbase sedan from its Daqing manufacturing base to the US since April 12. The first 400 sedans will be transported to Tianjin Port for shipment and then be sold to the American consumers this June.
The S90 long wheelbase T8 three-seater is the most luxurious car ever made in China by a global auto brand. It's also that a high-end sedan model made in-China will be exported to the American market for the first time. The production of this model is supported by ABB Robotics.
Unlike the "localization" strategy implemented by other auto brands in China, Volvo's practice is to incorporate the Chinese manufacturing base into its global manufacturing and supply system. Daqing plant is one of Volvo's global manufacturing bases, same as all of Volvo's European plants and its American plant under construction. The new models manufactured in China will not only meet the domestic demands, but also be supplied to major markets like America and Europe. ABB Robotics has become an important part of the modern plant in Volvo's Daqing manufacturing base, which is built in line with its uniform global standards.
ABB Robotics has provided Daqing manufacturing base with applications and technical support for three major production lines: body-in-white, press automation, and paint automation.
Volvo Daqing Plant is the first Chinese plant that adopts the Volvo-ABB function package. ABB has supplied over 200 full function packages to its body-in-white workshop, each of which contains robots and corresponding welding controls, tip dressers, tool changes, sealing system, stud welding system, and self-piercing riveting system(SPR). The function package integrates the robots, the relevant peripherals' application equipment and secondary development software to significantly improve the system's overall commissioning cycle, operation safety and stability. In addition, the uniform standards and application platforms, together with a user-friendly commissioning and interactive interface, simplify the general plan and control over the progress of projects. For Volvo, ABB Robots integrates side line, main line, door line, header line, fender line and adjustment line. The applications include handling, spot welding, SPR, laser welding and dispensing. The main line even uses the ABB Gate Framer framing station, meeting Volvo's high standard and stringent requirements.
ABB Robotics provides Volvo with a full line of integrated press automation, including IRB 7600FX linear 7-axis robots, visual alignment system, toolings and functions for more than 10 components, capable of producing both steel plates and aluminum plates. The Volvo S90 long-wheelbase sedan has large dimensions and complicated dies and requires high-precision robot coordination in component clamping and placing. Due to the large size of the parts and the special processes, the postures of placement are confronted with a number of requirements which include station reversal, half-way material turnover, spinning and separation. Therefore, high flexibility is needed for the automation production. ABB has provided not only high-performance pressing robots and a safe and stable automatic control system to help Volvo realize the complex production, but also a general monitoring and real-time production information display system to ensure the success, safety and efficiency of production.
ABB Robotics has provided more than 30 paint robots of various models to Volvo, covering the full painting process and sealing process, from mid-coating, color paint spraying to varnish paint spraying. The fully automated sealing line guarantees the consistency and reliability of the sealing quality inside the cars. Besides, China’s first water-based sound-proof and acoustic damping material LASD automatic glue spraying station that ABB provided for the Volvo Chengdu factory in 2011, has also been used in the Volvo Daqing plant as a solution to in-car air quality of asphalt gaskets.
Volvo launched its global manufacturing strategy in Shanghai on November 2, 2016. Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo, said, "Daqing manufacturing base will produce the most luxurious and top-of-the-line Volvo sedans, including S90 T8 Excellence three-seat edition. The Chinese automobile industry has entered a new era of global production and export that is ushered in by Volvo."
"This marks a new chapter for Chinese automobile industry. The S90 long-wheelbase sedan is the most forward-looking product Volvo has ever made in China. It encompasses the most advanced electric techniques and top Scandinavian luxurious innovation. More importantly, it perfectly demonstrates Volvo's global manufacturing and quality, represents the highest level of China's intelligent manufacturing in Volvo's global manufacturing system and terminates Chinese manufacturing's stereotype as OEM and knockoff. This official export to America is the start of this model's export to the whole world. In the future, it will be exported to Europe, including the Swedish market." said Yuan Xiaolin, Global Senior Vice President of Volvo, President and CEO of Volvo in the Asia- Pacific region.
Daqing factory is Volvo's cutting-edge SPA (expandable framework) car factory and positioned as "a global model factory". SPA features high flexibility and expandability. The flexibility gives more freedom to engineers and designers to materialize various new and practical designs, and is changing Volvo's automobile manufacturing methods. Different models, powertrain assembly and electric systems differ from each other in complexity but can be fit with the same SPA expandable platform framework to reduce production costs. In fact, many of the global strategic models which Volvo's brand revitalization counts on are developed and manufactured based on such framework and have been selling well in the global market.
The export of the S90 long-wheelbase sedan to the US shows that China is well qualified in international fine production competition and serving global market. It also symbolizes that the Daqing automobile industrial cluster can absolutely produce products with world class quality. In the meantime, Chinese high-end manufacturing, represented by Volvo, is seeking to realize the "Intelligent Manufacturing" advocated by the Chinese government. ABB Robotics is very glad to be partner for Volvo to realize intelligent manufacturing and serve global market with high quality.