Smart manufacturing for the 500 full-electric

There are 187 new-generation Comau robots tasked with assembling the structural parts of FIAT’s New 500 full-electric, one of the Turin automaker’s most iconic models. Comau has also worked alongside FCA and the Fiat brand in redesigning the bodywork to accommodate the battery and transmission, so that it meets the technical requirements of an electric vehicle.

A total of 187 Comau robots were then integrated in the different phases of the car manufacturing process.
A total of 187 Comau robots were then integrated in the different phases of the car manufacturing process.

FIAT has also converted to electric mobility, and the first model to be produced in a full-electric version is the iconic 500. For its assembly, Comau designed and implemented production lines dedicated to the structural parts of the vehicle. The company has provided FCA and the Fiat brand with advanced automation solutions and its know-how in the development of innovative industrial processes to produce FCA’s first fully electric vehicle, a Made in Turin product. The path started symbolically in July 2019 with the installation of the first Comau robot, which initiated the production line of the model inside FCA’s historic Mirafiori plant. A total of 187 Comau robots were then integrated in the different phases of the car manufacturing process, thanks to the collaboration of a team of Comau experts who worked side-by-side the automaker’s designers to optimize the work lines in an excellent example of smart manufacturing. The team also needed to adapt the systems to a new body design of an iconic car while responding to the technical characteristics of a full-electric vehicle.

Each robot has been fully equipped by Comau to efficiently carry out all the special processes an electric car requires.
Each robot has been fully equipped by Comau to efficiently carry out all the special processes an electric car requires.

The technological solutions adopted

In particular, Comau has developed and equipped the body assembly lines dedicated to processing the structural parts of the New 500, including the front and rear floors, the bodysides and the framing, which are assembled and welded to give shape to the complete body of the car.
Each robot has been fully equipped by Comau to efficiently carry out all the special processes an electric car requires – from custom-designed handling systems and grippers to a special 3D printed end-effector for moving body components. Comau has also integrated the lines with advanced vision systems to control the quality of the adhesive dispensing system, both during processing and at the end of the cycle. In order to optimize and speed-up inline tool changes, an articulated magazine system was designed to provide the robots with the different types of tools required to perform each application in a fast and easy way. In addition, Comau has intervened in the design of the robotized line for the final assembly. After the bodyshop, which is used to form the body of the New 500, and the painting and surface treatment phases, all the internal parts are assembled and the single components of the car are optimized. n