You may use Google Earth to find your way around a new city, but Ford is now using the same software to virtually navigate some of its assembly plants, thanks to a new pilot program developed in concert with Siemens. Ford is expecting this technology to benefit its global manufacturing efforts by providing better communication between plants throughout the world.
The Siemens technology, which is allegedly similar to the 3-D modeling technology used in Google Earth, is able to create a three-dimensional version of assembly plants, which allows users to navigate through these plants to better understand the manufacturing process. The detail in these virtual models is impressive, as engineers can navigate down to individual workstations within manufacturing facilities. Users can also add pins to bookmark a location as well as adding videos and documents to these pins. All of this information is stored in the cloud, which would make this virtual access available to Ford employees on a global scale.
The program is currently being tested and studied at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Michigan, and Ford is eventually hoping to expand this technology on a broader scale. The hope is that Ford manufacturing facilities will be better able to share information on best practices and give more applicable representations of manufacturing processes. This fits in well with the company’s “One Ford” initiative of the past few years which aims to streamline Ford’s global lineup and overall image.
Check out some screenshots of this new technology in the gallery below.