What is the Role of Collaborative Automation in Production?

The part specifications for luxury automobiles are so exacting that an optional sun roof can, due to the slight increase in the weight it adds, require that the car have a different model shock absorber than if the vehicle had no sunroof.

Thyssenkrupp Bilstein knows about exacting demands. The German multinational is perhaps the premier suspension supplier for the performance and luxury auto market. The suspension systems manufactured at Bilstein’s American headquarters in Hamilton, Ohio, can be found on high-end sedans, trucks, vans, off-road vehicles and sports cars for the Big-Three automakers, Toyota and Nissan, as well as Mercedes-Benz and new electric vehicle startups. In short, the company positions itself as the market leader for advanced fully active and semi-active suspensions worldwide.

For Bilstein, the changeable nature of its customers’ demands requires lean manufacturing processes and the ability to constantly adapt. During a recent interview and plant tour with Fabian Schmahl, Thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America’s president and chief executive officer, it became clear that collaborative automation is becoming a key tool for…

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