Leading Electric Car Manufacturer chooses ATS to implement Andon control and Vehicle Tracking


  • An electric car manufacturer approached ATS with two critical tasks. First, they wanted to know where every vehicle under production was at any given moment. When every vehicle on a production line can have a different specification and when individual vehicles can be taken offline or re-routed at any moment, tracking the location of each vehicle becomes paramount.
  • Secondly, they needed to be able to identify and quantify line stoppages and identify their root causes. In the olden days, and still in some places today, this would have been a paper and pen job. When the line stopped you’d write down the time of the stoppage and then, if you weren’t to busy trying to get the line started again, you’d make a note of why it stopped. After all that, if you weren’t too distracted by the elation of getting the line started again, you’d record the stoppage end time. The limited analysis that this would provide would be available days later, after it had all been entered in to a spreadsheet.
  • To solve both these issues ATS implemented an Andon Control and Vehicle Tracking System.

Solution Approach

Consultancy and Design

ATS has over 30 years of experience working in the automotive industry and has a breadth and depth of knowledge that the customer called upon during the initial consultancy period. ATS then worked with the customer to design, develop and implement the solution. By working in partnership through the whole process ATS has been able to ensure that the customer’s requirements are met and that they have a best-in-class solution.

Andon Control and Vehicle Tracking System

The solution allows communication between the MES system, the conveyor control system and the process equipment. This provides several benefits to the customer.

To start with, the solution provides the real-time status of the car together with its location. By tracking a car’s location, the system is also able to determine stoppage time for each vehicle together with the frequency of stops and their location. The reason for each stop is also recorded.

On top of this, the solution also provides standard Toyota Production System (TPS) line control functionalities such as:

  • Workstation temp stop control
  • Poka-yoke judgment
  • Part Pick Instruction
  • Line control based on the MES production schedule

Systems & Tools

  • Ignition SCADA, Sepasoft MES

The Results

The customer now has access to the real-time location of every vehicle on its lines. This means that they also have complete traceability and can look back over every process that a vehicle has passed through on its way to becoming a completed car. This is extremely useful when trying to identify the original issue that led to a problem discovered after the car has left the plant.

The data set being built up around stoppages is incredibly detailed and can be used to identify trends and outliers. In a continuous improvement environment this information can help to highlight the processes and factors that are having the biggest impact which greatly helps with investment decisions.

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