Development and implementation  of 4D modeling  in a Gigafactory

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Author: Sandra Hedlundh; Frida Nyberg; [2021]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The auto manufacturing industry has experienced a shift towards a lower carbon trajectory, resulting in new fleets of electric vehicles. The trajectory has put the supply chain in motion and the demand for lithium-ion batteries has increased significantly. The expected growth within the energy storage industry has led to companies starting to produce lithium-ion batteries. The production facilities, called Gigafactories, involve a large number of international suppliers, highly complex process steps as well as strict environmental requirements. In Sweden, Northvolt has become a frontrunner for high-quality green batteries and has recently started to build its Gigafactory in Skellefteå. Northvolt has aimed to implement 4D modeling in the Gigafactory in Skellefteå. 4D modelling has been within the construction industry for about two decades. The technology within planning and 3D modelling has evolved further to generate more advanced simulations. 4D modeling has its core in pure construction processes and the research of using 4D modeling for production facilities is scarce. The purpose was to foresee potential problems in the construction process at an early stage to increase efficiency, while quality-checking the installation process. Furthermore, there is a research gap within using 4D modeling for automated, large-scale production facilities. For a Gigafactory, multiple aspects and departments need to be involved to define a 4D development process that will bring value to the organization. The implementation process for 4D modeling was designed for Northvolt’s Blueprint team, which is responsible for fast and cost-efficient scale-up for the production facilities with improvements in operations and project deliveries. The focus of the implementation process was primarily on developing 4D modeling for the installation of equipment but was required to allow scalability of other areas in the construction. The presented implementation process is defined by practically developing 4D modeling in a Gigafactory. The process was developed in several iterations to add value with identified attributes. In addition, the involved departments' ways of working were aligned, which improved communication and thereby minimized the challenge of having design and planning separated. When developing an implementation process for 4D modeling in a Gigafactory, established workflows and clear internal structures were needed. The main challenge of implementing 4D modeling is to automate the workflow to eliminate the risk of human errors. The result was a semiautomated process to manage the program's lack of interactions. An additional investigation was made to clarify that an automated process could be designed in-house for future 4D projects.

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