This post is also available in: German
Hi, my name is Julien. I’m an industrial engineer and Industry 4.0 Manager at the Powertrain plant in Boussens, France. My job is to support the industrialization of our products and to drive forward pioneering developments – using Industry 4.0 technologies.Our plant provides a great example of what Industry 4.0 can achieve for Continental in the shape of lower up-front investments, shorter throughput times and greater flexibility. Only recently our innovative approach brought us the “French Plant of the Year 2018” award from the renowned “L’usine nouvelle” magazine.
Boussens has been part of Continental’s Sensors & Actuators business unit since 2007 and is the parent plant of the sensor organization. We currently turn out more than 100,000 units per day, using 27 manufacturing technologies to produce a wide range of contactless sensor concepts, door handle and knock sensors.
For several years now we’ve been aware of the great potential of using cobots. These “collaborative robots” are a technical solution that is both efficient and easy to use. On the one hand they help to increase our output and get production up to speed faster, and on the other hand they help to cut our labor costs and optimize the capacity uptake of our machines and equipment. Today we work alongside 34 cobots. We also make use of other interactive features, from innovative error-detection cameras via tablets to VR headsets.
In the meantime, Boussens has made a name for itself at Continental as a source of inspiration and a trailblazer when it comes to Industry 4.0 solutions. These are adaptable for virtually any other plant. We also organize Cobot Days to share our experiences and best practices with other Continental sites around the world.
In Boussens there’s a very firmly embedded lean culture in our operations. We always try to break new ground, try things out, improve on what we already have. Thinking outside the box is essential for us – and it has proved well worthwhile, because as well as being named “French Plant of the Year”, in 2016 and 2017 we also won the “Lean Check Award” two years in succession. We were particularly pleased about this, since it was the first time the award had gone to a Powertrain Plant.