THE TATA NANO MAKES HISTORY USING DIGITAL MANUFACTURING
On January 10, 2008, India's Tata Motors unveiled its Nano car. It was an historic moment, because the Nano was the cheapest auto ever made at that time, with a price tag around US $2,500. The Nano joined Ford's Model T as a car within reach of millions of people who previously could not afford one.
Tata Motors started its Nano project in 2003, when a team was charged with creating a car that would cost no more than about US $2,500 without compromising on safety, aesthetics, or value to the customer. It was a Herculean task. Tata met the challenge by using digital manufacturing systems to dramatically shorten the time required to design the new product and bring it to market. The ability to develop and produce new products with many different variations within a very short time span is a key competitive advantage in the automotive ...view middle of the document...
All that changed in July 2005 when Tata Motors switched to digital manufacturing using Dassault Systems' Digital Enterprise Lean Manufacturing Interactive Application (DELMIA). Digital manufacturing automates processes in product design and production engineering planning, enabling Tata to plan manufacturing processes, design plant layouts, and then simulate the repercussions of those plans, including the impact of new manufacturing techniques and changes of products on existing production lines. It provides data to Tata's SAP enterprise resource planning system, which costs out a product, an assembly or a sub-assem¬bly. Digital manufacturing also simulates the movements of people working on the shop floor so that planners can design more efficient work processes. Companies using digital manufacturing can model products and operations and make changes to them on the computer. This cut down on the use of expensive physical prototypes, which must be rebuilt each time a design changes.
According to T.N. Umama¬heshwaran, who headed Tata Motors' digital manufacturing program, "We can't imagine what would take place at a new plant if we did not have DM Tools. Two years before the first stone of a plant is laid, we already start working on it. We don't even know where the site will be, but we know what it will take to make 750 cars a day."
As a result of adopting digi¬tal manufacturing, Tata Motors has reduced time-to-market for new passenger cars by at least six months. The company can now rapidly identify areas of "work overload" and constraints while quickly adapting assembly lines to accommodate multiple automobile variations. The ability to simulate facilities and processes has reduced the cost of physical rework. Manufacturing and facilities planning now take 30 percent less time, with a 20 percent reduction in the cost of the manufacturing planning process. For certain functions, the time to design an entire process end-to-end has been reduced by over 50 percent.