Virtual and Phsycial Pre-series Process Verification at Volvo Car Corporation

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: This master thesis was conducted at Volvo Car Corporation, VCC, in Gothenburg within
the Manufacturing Engineering department. It is based on the P11-project (the new model
S40) where the process verification has been examined and analyzed. The purpose of the
thesis is to investigate the reasons behind remaining and new problems at late stages in the
development process, as well as possibilities for improvements during pre-series work.
Based on this, the objective is to identify and account for problem areas which significantly
influence verification activities. Furthermore, recommendations for future in-depth studies,
within these specified areas, are presented with the aim to continue the investigation
conducted in this thesis. Through the description of the current challenges combined with
future, more precise research, the performance of pre-series verification will be enhanced.
VCC has recently introduced virtual pre-series at early stages of the verification process in
order to enable a more efficient product and process development. The aim is to improve
the use of virtual methods, such as advanced simulation tools used to simulate
manufacturability, thereby reducing the need for time and cost consuming physical preseries.
Achieving improvements in virtual pre-series will allow for front-loading in terms of
identifying and solving problems earlier. This thesis focuses on virtual verifications and
emphasizes the possibilities for improvements within that area. The investigation was
performed as a case study and information was gathered from a database, where process
related problems are managed, and through interviews with parties involved in the
verification process.
Gathering information about basic questions, such as when problems are identified and
solved, enabled an observation of the disproportionately large number of problems handled
during physical pre-series. Thus, confirming the importance of applying the front-loading
theory. By focusing on identifying the reasons for the present situation, this investigation
resulted in extensive input providing a broad perspective where a few areas of significance
were identified. Four areas with a considerable effect on the quality of the virtual pre-series
are emphasized; technical limitations, defective virtual build meetings, poor handling of
models, and lack of knowledge transfer. At present, they all contribute to the amount of
problems at late stages, thereby implying the need for improvements. The technical
limitations are of a tangible nature, directly affecting the performance of simulations, and
limiting the handling of problems by postponing verifications to the physical pre-series.
The remaining areas refer mainly to aspects regarding working methodology and how it is
implemented and perceived by the concerned parties. Partly, the working methodology is
affected by immeasurable issues such as confidence in virtual methods, motivation for
work, and informal communication.

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