Ola Electric, which last evening released teaser images of its upcoming electric scooter, is hard at work setting up its mega electric vehicle factory in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. And everything is on a mega scale or very Tesla-like about the ‘Future Factory’, as Ola prefers to call it.
The manufacturing facility will cater to customers not only in India but also to global markets including Europe, Asia and Latin America. Housed on a humungous 500-acre site, which equals around 378 football fields or 25 Delhi T3 airport terminals, at completion sometime in 2022, the facility will have an annual capacity of 10 million units. This will easily make it the world’s single largest two-wheeler manufacturing plant in the world, staffed by nearly 10,000 personnel and equipped with 3,000 robots. At present, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s No. 1 two-wheeler OEM, has a combined manufacturing capacity of 9.8 million units across 5 plants in five states.
Feverish construction activity is underway at the Ola Electric site, designed to get Phase 1, which will have a capacity of 2 million units, ready by June 2021. At full capacity, using 10 production lines, Ola estimates one electric scooter will roll out every 2 seconds. Phase 2 is slated for completion by end-2021, Phase 3 and 4 by 2022.
A-Z integrated plant
The mega factory which will be an integrated manufacturing operation will cover the entire value chain of the electric vehicle manufacturing process. The mega-block, located over 43 acres, will house all production facilities and have a 2 million square-feet footprint.
The integrated manufacturing facility will house operations for battery, paint shop, welding, motor, general assembly, finished goods and will also have two supplier parks. Furthermore, the plant will have its own test track. Built using Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing techniques, the Ola factory will use 3,000 robots across various operations.
High on sustainability, Ola says there will be 100 acres of forest cover around the factory, 2 acres forest cover inside the factory with manufacturing operations powered by solar and renewable energy. The company is aiming for carbon-negative operations at start.
Smart manufacturing operations
The Ola mega factory, built on Industry 4.0 principles, will be AI-Powered with Ola’s proprietary AI engine and tech stack deeply integrated into every aspect of the manufacturing process, continuously self-learning and optimising every aspect of the manufacturing process. This, according to the company, will provide unprecedented control, automation and quality to the entire operations, especially with implementation of cyber-physical and advanced IoE systems. Ola is using Siemens’ Digital Enterprise software to optimise factory layout for maximum utilisation of space and capacity.
ABB’s automation solutions will be deployed in key manufacturing process lines, including its painting and welding lines. ABB robots to be used extensively for battery and motor assembly lines.
The entire material handling at Ola’s factory will be fully automated for maximum efficiency, right from raw materials, to materials movement inside the factory, to storage, to the finished scooter rolling off the production lines and being loaded onto trucks.
According to Ola, “These advanced technology systems will seamlessly blend with Ola’s workforce to provide the perfect synergy of humans and machines working in tandem to build the most efficient production system and deliver the highest quality products.”
Ola Electric has chosen Swedish-Swiss multinational ABB as one of its key partners for robotics and automation solutions. ABB’s automation solutions will be deployed in key manufacturing process lines, including its painting and welding lines, while the ABB robots will be deployed extensively for the battery and motor assembly lines. These include ABB’s IRB 5500 paint and IRB 2600 Integrated Dressing robots in its painting and welding lines, and IRB 6700 robots for assembly and material handling in the battery and motor assembly areas.
ABB robots will be digitally integrated into Ola’s AI-enabled mega-factory, to optimise robot performance, productivity and product quality. The company says the use of ABB’s robots and automation solutions will ensure remote digital connectivity and monitoring of the robots that will ride on Ola’s proprietary AI engine and tech stack.
The mega-factory is also expected to use automated guided vehicles once the factory is fully operational to its full capacity.