Vinfast, Vietnam’s first national car brand bared its ambition to dominate Vietnam’s electrical vehicle market by embracing ProLogium’s epoch-making solid state automotive battery solution.
A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed a MOU with the leading solid-state battery manufacturer ProLogium to accelerate commercialisation of solid-state battery EV in Vietnam.
According to the MOU, the two parties will set up a joint venture to produce automotive solid-state battery(SSB) pack for Vinfast’s EVs. The JV will have priority to purchase PLG’s SSB product and will be licensed to use PLG’s patented SSB pack assembly technology, MAB (Multi-Axis Bipolar+), to produce CIM/CIP SSB pack (cell is module/ cell is pack) locally in Vietnam. PLG will produce SSB inlays (semi-finished battery cell composed of cathode, solid state electrolyte and anode layer) for the JV at one of its Asian manufacturing centers (expected to reach 1-2 GWh capacity in 2022), which will support mass production schedule of Vinfast EVs in 2023-2024.
Debuted 4 years ago, Vinfast is now ranked number 5 in Vietnam’s automobile market share and has created a wide-spectrum product portfolio. Through its JV partnership with PLG, Vinfast will be enabled to build EVs that boast ultimate safety, substantially longer range, efficient charging time comparable to fuel vehicles, and superiority in both intelligence and performance.
Vinfast, Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer, has launched its Research and Development Center in Australia to boost international activity.
The establishment of VinFast Office in Melbourne—the industrial hub of Australia is a strategic move, taking advantage of the presence of giant automakers such as such as Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, GM, Melbourne, its complete supply chains and industry experts.
VinFast Australia aims to expand its presence in international markets, connect with leading suppliers and to catch up with the latest technologies and trends. The facility will be focused on research and development of new car models, including both ICE and BEV variants.
Earlier in 2020, VinFast Austrialia has started operations with its Automotive Technology Institute 2. It staffs nearly 100 industry experts and engineers from the world’s leading automakers.
Alex Teo of Siemens Digital Industries Software talks about the current automotive manufacturing trends; their collaboration with VinFast; and the impact of COVID-19. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Alex Teo is the Managing Director for Southeast Asia at Siemens Digital Industries Software. In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, he discussed the trends happening in the automotive manufacturing industry right now, how these trends have changed the requirements from manufacturers, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and their collaboration with VinFast.
WHAT TRENDS ARE HAPPENING IN THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING SPACE RIGHT NOW?
Alex Teo (AT): Overall, the automotive manufacturing sector is expected to continue its rapid journey of transformation. Global competitive intensity will also rise, as manufacturers in China and Vietnam expand their attention beyond domestic markets. Technological advances—including interactive safety systems, vehicle connectivity, and self-driving vehicle technology, among others—will continue to drive development.
In particular, two trends are leading the way in automotive manufacturing. On the one hand, autonomous vehicles are expected to become mainstream soon, with some estimates projecting that up to 15 percent of all vehicles sold worldwide will be autonomous by 2030. For automotive manufacturers, the rise of autonomy also comes with a new premium on agile development cycles, shorter production runs of a wider array of vehicle types, and new partnerships and collaboration across the supply chain. The new autonomous vehicle ecosystem includes new chip, software, sensor, and systems-oriented technology companies, in addition to the traditional manufacturers and their upstream partners. Meanwhile, automakers must still maximise revenue from existing product lines and appropriately balance R&D spending to refresh these lines today while investing for a likely radically different future.
On the other hand, growing efforts to fight climate change in the region are also likely to drive an increase in demand for electrification in vehicles. Government regulations, such as Singapore’s recently announced plans to incentivise electric vehicle adoption, will drive significant shifts in consumer demand. To capitalise on this demand, car-makers must be able to develop and produce electric vehicles with adequate range, fast-charge capabilities, and multiple design variants in each vehicle segment. Achieving all this with the same (or lower) cost of ownership as conventional vehicles requires bringing innovations and engineering efficiency that has been unheard of in the automotive industry – without risking safety, reliability, and quality.
HOW HAVE REQUIREMENTS FROM AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS CHANGED?
AT: Across the region, trends in automotive manufacturing are largely being driven by governments, through policy and regulatory initiatives, as well as end-consumers, whose preferences continue to shape the market. Automotive manufacturers will have to tap on digital technology and software-driven solutions to balance these needs while maintaining profitability.
Regulations arising from the need to go green will likely require manufacturers to better understand both the performance of their final products, as well as the sustainability of their supply chain. Aside from emissions data of the finished vehicle, manufacturers also need to assess the environmental impact of their operations throughout the value chain. At the same time, evolving regulations relating to autonomous vehicle development will require that automotive manufacturers are able to ensure the safety of passengers, pedestrians and property.
A lot of this can be addressed with digital twin technology, which will allow automotive manufacturers to simulate and test at much greater scale, and lower cost. This will allow them to uncover in greater detail the performance of their products, as well as gain visibility into their product lifecycle.
HOW DOES INDUSTRY 4.0 IMPACT AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES?
AT: The car of the future will be connected, working seamlessly as part of a larger, intelligent mobility network. It will be able to communicate with other vehicles, devices and smart roadway infrastructure. As every vehicle becomes a source for receiving and transmitting bits of information, key concerns for consumers, governments and manufacturers alike will include factors such as cybersecurity and energy efficiency. As interconnectivity between vehicles and systems grow, automotive manufacturers will have to work with a large range of other technology partners to provide a seamless customer experience for their products.
Similarly, Industry 4.0 brings unprecedented connectivity to the product lifecycle, while allowing manufacturers to innovate at lower cost, step up efficiency across the supply chain, and reduce their impact to the environment.
However, manufacturers—especially in various parts of developing Asia—should also focus on upskilling their workforce to fully realise the benefits of a digital factory. While new technologies possess great autonomy, humans must provide direction and control—and apart from overseeing technology, they are needed to gather, compare, analyse and apply data. Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies without knowing how to interpret, manage, and act on the insights leaves businesses with just a buzzword that has no real applicable value. There is a need for organisations to develop talent strategies, as well as build up staffing and training plans to meet the changing needs in terms of skills, job description and organisational models of the companies.
Siemens Digital Industries Software addresses this issue through initiatives such as its Technical Competency Hubs, one of which was launched in Penang in 2019, the only such facility in Southeast Asia. It is part of Siemens’ efforts to support Industry 4.0 development efforts with countries in the region. The hub will also serve as a platform for Siemens to help companies, especially SMEs, begin their digitalisation journey in order to meet the needs of the new economy.
HOW WILL THE TREND TOWARDS ELECTRIC VEHICLES IMPACT THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY IN ASEAN?
AT: Undoubtedly, automotive manufacturers in the region will need to adapt their production capabilities to accommodate these changes and trends. As the ASEAN region grows in importance as an automotive manufacturing hub for the world, businesses here will have to cater to these changing trends.
More importantly, however, businesses need to recognise that the shift towards electric vehicles is just one trend in a long line of many. Consumer demand is always shifting—and at an ever-increasing pace. Instead of concentrating on one trend, automotive manufacturers in ASEAN should focus on becoming more nimble and agile, which will allow them to capitalise on the pace of change in consumer preferences, especially amidst growing uncertainty in global markets.
For carmakers, the ability to analyse real-time road data should improve the efficacy of sales and marketing, while digital design and manufacturing can raise productivity in a dramatic way: big data simulations and virtual modelling can lower development costs and speed up time to market. That should resonate with customers conditioned to the innovation clock speed of consumer electronics, such as smartphones or laptops.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC: WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY, AND WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED FROM THIS?
AT: It is difficult to assess definitively the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive manufacturing, or any other, industry in Asia at the moment, given that the situation is still developing, and is expected to persist for quite a while more.
What we do know is that there is now a pressing need for manufacturers to pivot their operations to become more innovative and agile, so that they are able to quickly capitalise on new trends, or leverage technology to become more efficient. For example, capabilities such as additive manufacturing may allow manufacturers to minimise the impact of supply chain disruption, as it allows for a much larger range of complex parts to be built onsite, while also reducing the need for tooling. Manufacturers need to take this period of downtime to upgrade their capabilities, so that they can fully realise the positive effects from when the economy recovers.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION WITH VINFAST. WHAT WERE THE COMPANY’S CHALLENGES AND GOALS, AND WHERE DID SIEMENS COME IN TO HELP ADDRESS THEIR ISSUES?
AT: VinFast had big goals. Before its 335-hectare plant in Hai Phong was established, there was no Vietnamese brand for passenger cars. It wanted to be competitive both domestically in Vietnam and globally right from the beginning, and relied on Siemens’ expertise to utilise the latest technology. This resulted in a closed-loop manufacturing system which uses digital twins of the products, the production, and the performance of production and product. The fully digital factory was built in 21 months—50 percent faster than usual—and is designed to be easily scalable for future expansions.
VinFast uses the comprehensive offerings from Siemens that combines Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software such as the Tecnomatix portfolio with Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), through the new harmonised, holistic portfolio Siemens Opcenter, to realise lean manufacturing across all phases, and with Totally Integrated Automation for all automation, including robots, conveyors, presses and milling machines.
This holistic approach has increased the speed and flexibility in development, ensured high global standards in production, optimised the manufacturing process, and made the entire plant future-proof for further expansions and new business models.
VinFast also works closely with Siemens Digital Industries Software to implement a fully functional digital twin. Developing new cars and scooters, planning the new plant, and finally producing with the help of digital tools creates a detailed virtual image, the digital twin. The digital twin creates new insights, thanks to the combination of physics-based simulations with data analytics in a fully virtual environment. This makes it possible to realise innovations faster and more reliable, while also requiring significantly fewer real prototypes. Even more data are created when the product is being produced or a plant begins operation.
These performance data of the real production and of the real product can be collected, analysed, and fed back into the development cycle. Here, they help VinFast to improve and optimise new products and processes at an early stage.
Vingroup has announced it would produce (invasive and non-invasive) ventilators of all types and body thermometers to the domestic market. This is in response to the call of the General Secretary, the President, the Prime Minister of Vietnam for the whole country’s participation in supporting the Covid-19 fight.
Research Institutes will stop daily tasks and focus on finding and researching methods to produce ventilators. The units assigned the main responsibility include Automobile R&D Institute 1, Automobile R&D Institute 2, Mobile Device Research Institute, Smart Home Appliances R&D Institute, Telecommunication Equipment R&D Institute, Smart Battery R&D Institute, VinFast Automobile Factory and VinSmart Electronics Equipment Factory.
Vingroup has entered a license agreement with US-based Medtronic to use their design for the PB560 invasive ventilator and at the same time began researching a non-invasive ventilator based on the community-shared design by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The group estimated the component cost for a non-invasive ventilator at about VND22 million and for an invasive ventilator at VND160 million.
“Vingroup has an advantage of having both automobile factory and electronics factory which enable us to manufacture both large and mechanical parts as well as rare and smaller parts at the same time such as electronic boards. Our excellent design engineers are capable of transforming the conceptual and 2D designs into detailed and complete designs required by the manufacturers,” said Mrs. Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup.
“With the capacity of VinFast and VinSmart factories, the group can produce up to 45,000 non-invasive ventilators and 10,000 invasive ventilators per month and we can support other manufacturers around the world by processing equipment for them, or providing part of the demand – any specific quantity depending on their ability to supply components,” said CEO of Vingroup Nguyen Viet Quang.
VinFast, Vietnam’s first volume car manufacturer, has successfully produced its first cars ahead of schedule using Siemens’ portfolio of integrated software and hardware. By deploying its portfolio, Siemens helped VinFast achieve its automotive production timeline for building the factory, car design and start of the production in only 21 months, well ahead of an already ambitious schedule. This is half of the average time to build such a manufacturing plant. The VinFast plant in Hai Phong went live in June 2019 and has a total design capacity of 250,000 cars per year. The first vehicles have been E-Scooters, compact cars, sedans, and SUVs. These will be followed by battery electric passenger cars as well as electric buses.
The entire value chain has been integrated and digitalised with Siemens’ Digital Enterprise portfolio, which includes the Xcelerator portfolio of software and Totally Integrated Automation (TIA). Xcelerator enables creation of the most accurate digital twin, melding model-based simulations with test data and real performance analytics with intelligent edge control. VinFast is using Teamcenter software as backbone of collaboration for product lifecycle management and NX software, a leading integrated solution for computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE), to develop the digital twin of cars and production. Teamcenter connects the digital twin with a consistent digital thread, which is helping VinFast increase speed and flexibility in development, optimise manufacturing processes and use the insights gained from product and plant operations to improve future performance. VinFast has also implemented Siemens Opcenter software (formerly Simatic IT Unified Architecture) to increase production speed and quality. This MES solution supports closed-loop manufacturing by driving real-time production data to the digital twin of product and enables innovation of product design and production operations.
Automation is realised by the modular and flexible automation concept Totally Integrated Automation (TIA), that controls and drives all productions. VinFast deployed Siemens’ automation equipment for its manufacturing lines in all shops: press shop, paint shop, body shop, assembly shop, sub-assembly- and engine shop. Simatic Controllers enable VinFast to automate factory operations such as robots or conveyor lines, including safety functionality. VinFast uses the engineering framework TIA Portal to program automation tasks from the press shop through to the final assembly. Simatic HMI’s are widely used in the factory, allowing VinFast to operate and observe the status of machines and entire systems for the production staff. Using Siemens’ Industrial Identification products, VinFast can track and trace parts and optimise the entire flow of materials. In addition, Sinumerik controls guarantee highest efficiency and quality in their powertrain machinery. Further portfolio provided by Siemens features network components, power supplies, control products, low voltage distribution and switchgears, an energy distribution system as well as motors and drives. The comprehensive automation components from Siemens enable VinFast to build up the factory with high quality of global standards.
“VinFast and their new production site are a great example of how the automotive industry is driving the digital transformation of manufacturing,” says Bernd Mangler, Senior Vice President Automotive Solutions at Siemens Digital Industries. “We are proud that we contributed with our offerings to create the virtual and real production lines including the technology for continuous optimisations along the entire lifecycle of the equipment – and of course, all had to happen in record speed.”
VinFast, a unit of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup JSC VIC.HM, is set to become the country’s first fully-fledged domestic car manufacturer as the company is projecting to have its first car available commercially in August of 2019.
Currently, the company already has established a new plant in the northern Vietnamese port town of Haiphong, where two models will be built. And for a start, VinFast is looking to manufacture 250,000 cars annually in the next five years of production. This is equivalent to 92 percent of all the cars sold in Vietnam in 2017 according to data collated by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA). To add to this, the company has earmarked about USD 3.5 billion for the project and has even debuted two vehicles at the Paris Motor Show in 2018. Commenting on the company’s ambitions, Jim Deluca, CEO of VinFast has said that, “[VinFast is] looking to expand both within ASEAN and outside.”
Beyond these vehicles, VinFast also intends to move forward with a city car through a partnership with General Motors that will also extend to automotive sales, where General Motors has given VinFast exclusive distribution rights for Chevrolet-branded vehicles in Vietnam. Other technology agreements are also underway between VinFast and General Motors and this will add on to VinFast’s expanding portfolio of partnerships such as the company’s current partnership with Siemens for the development of domestic electric buses.
As of now, a majority of the cars sold in Vietnam are foreign brands assembled in the country from kits. However, a series of free trade agreements have reduced import duties and this has opened up the market for domestic manufacturers. For example, a 30 percent import tax on cars from other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries was removed in 2018.
Siemens has announced that VinFast has selected a suite of tools from its PLM Software to help realise their plans for next-generation automotive and transportation design. Siemens will be providing a digitalisation solution across the entire automotive OEM value chain, which can help enable VinFast to meet the company’s goals of creating the first Vietnam-made automobile and eScooter brand, and promote the development of the industrial and manufacturing sector in Vietnam.
Through Siemens’ software, VinFast is intending to take advantage of a connected digital twin across both design and manufacturing. The company also plans to use an integrated digital platform including the Teamcenter portfolio for digital lifecycle management, including the Teamcenter solution for product costing to support cost and value engineering, and the Tecnomatix portfolio, the industry-leading digital manufacturing software, combined with SIMATIC IT UA for Discrete Manufacturing covering the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) layer. Teamcenter connects the digital twin with a consistent digital thread, which can help VinFast increase speed and flexibility in product development, optimise manufacturing processes and use the insights gained from product and plant operations to improve future performance.
“Using the combined power of both product lifecycle management and manufacturing operations management technology is a key part of our digitalisation journey,” said Jason Buxton, chief information officer at VinFast. “To drive innovation within the automotive industry, it is essential to have the right technology in place. We feel that Siemens’ best-in-class solutions can empower automakers and the vehicle electrification supply chain to reduce development time and deliver high-quality solutions, with the ability to adapt to changes easily at every stage of the process.”
VinFast recently announced to the market that the company is also launching the first Vietnamese electric car. Using a connected PLM and MES digital enterprise solution will prove to be critical to achieving this goal. By creating a digital enterprise, VinFast can take advantage of new and disruptive technology across each phase of their operation to reduce cycle time, increase yield and foster new business opportunities.
“Siemens PLM Software is proud to form this excellent partnership with VinFast in the first national car project in Vietnam to help VinFast accelerate its innovation cycle,” said Alex Teo, managing director and vice president of Siemens Industry Software for South East Asia. “The vast portfolio of Siemens solutions that VinFast plans to deploy is a demonstration of the trust our customers place in our proven capabilities in taking products from the digital world to the real world.”
VIETNAM: Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private corporation, is looking to add automobile production into its impressive repertoire – one which already covers the non profit sector as well as the real estate, shopping, amusement park, convenience shop and housebuilding industry.
During this year’s Paris Motor Show the company had unveiled two of its LUX vehicles – an all-new sedan and a crossover inspired by the Vietnamese people – and plans to go global with its production output in the future. Based on a novel architecture that was developed by VinFast, the LUX vehicles were co-created alongside global leaders such as Magna Steyr and Bosch with the intention of an expedited development-to-market cycle.
Kevin Fisher, Vice President of Engineering at VinFast has said, “Our partnership strategy will enable us to achieve two crucial engineering imperatives – quality and timing”.While prototype testing of the two vehicles that have been showcased is currently underway, VinFast’s automobile manufacturing facility in Vietnam is already opened for operations and the company intends to develop a city car through its partnership with General Motors (GM) while also expanding its eScooter line through the addition of a small electric car by 2019.
Through its partnership with GM, VinFast has also attained exclusive distribution rights for Chevrolet-branded vehicles in Vietnam. Similarly, although additional technology agreements between GM and VinFast are still being discussed, most of GM’s operations in Vietnam will be transferred to VinFast, such as the company’s large Hanoi plant which is scheduled to be transferred before the end of 2018.
Moving forward, VinFast is also collaborating with Siemens to manufacture electric buses for the Vietnamese market which are scheduled to be sold domestically in June 2019. A vision that is aligned to VinFast’s supply chain for electric mobility in its operations.