Driving total control with Aston Martin

Posted on 6 Nov 2014 by Callum Bentley

As Aston Martin celebrates 101 years of automotive production, its sports cars, including the Rapide S, Vanquish, DB9 and Vantage, installs a new Siemens intelligence system.

Aston Martin and Siemens Industry have developed and installed a SCADA plant intelligence system. Its manufacturing facility at Gaydon in Warwickshire has installed Siemens SIMATIC WinCC SCADA as a scalable process visualisation system to control and monitor all aspects of the site’s processes from the production line to the paint shop and beyond.

Aston Martin’s senior controls engineer Steve Davis explains some of the background: “Our Gaydon manufacturing facility is modern, flexible and efficient but we are always looking for improvements.

“We felt that the introduction of a plant-wide integrated control and monitoring system would be beneficial. We spoke with Siemens Industry and developed a solution which had SIMATIC WinCC SCADA at its heart. We can now access status, data and reporting from up to 50 terminals across the site.”

The factory-wide control system operates all equipment and provides immediate access to operational critical data. This includes trend logging of temperature curves in the paint shop’s curing ovens through to control and visualisation of activity on the two primary production lines.

Equipment data can be monitored and presented as live operator-relevant information, which can be integrated into KPI reports, which can then be used for management decision-making.  In addition, with access to downtime reporting capability, fault-finding and even spotting potential faults, issues can be quickly identified and corrected leading to a reduction in downtime and an increase in equipment effectiveness.

Reap the wild wind

Daniel Smalley, product manager for Siemens Industry believes Aston Martin is reaping real benefits from the expansion of the control and monitoring system at Gaydon and the enhanced intelligence it brings to the manufacturing process.

Smalley says: “The Gaydon site is now seamlessly joined via the user-friendly WinCC SCADA system so all elements of the production process are easily accessible via the touch displays that are strategically positioned in production areas.

“Visualised real-time plant and production information at the touch of a button means the operational teams are on top of situations quickly and can respond without delay.

“From a proactive perspective enhanced and predictive maintenance strategies are being implemented and, with these, reductions in downtime are actively managed meaning operational efficiencies have been further improved.”

Davis concludes: “We are happy with the benefits we have seen since installing the new system.  We have an integrated and plant-wide transparent control and monitoring capability for our essential processes all from a single source.  It also allows for historical archiving of results achieved, downtime alarm logging and daily build logs, which is the type of critical data that can aid strategic planning and improve our already impressive efficiency record.”