Swiftmigrate saved Ford millions in reprogramming costs for crucial applications used in its manufacturing plants.
The process of vehicle manufacture is a complex one because plants like Ford now build cars to order. This means that each car coming down the assembly line is different, with customers having already chosen from a wide range criteria such as colour, engine capacity and trim. As a result, modern manufacturing plants have to be highly versatile.
For Ford, this versatility was made possible by VAX. Their VAX systems ran a complex application that tracked each vehicle as it progressed down the assembly line and made sure that the correct components were waiting at each fitting post, controlling everything from body shell and colour to engine type and windscreen shade.
Given how crucial this application was to the smooth running of Ford’s manufacturing plant, the company could not tolerate VAX failures. Unfortunately, as the hardware was 20 years old, this was happening more and more – a business risk Ford decided was unacceptable.
However, this complex application had been refined and improved over many years into what many considered the best production application in existence. An initial study into the feasibility of replacing it suggested that the project would cost £10 million and take at least a year to complete. As a result, Ford decided that using Swiftmigrate’s service to preserve the original application was the most cost-effective and sensible solution.
The migration was an outstanding success. Within three years every single VAX system at the plant had been migrated at a fraction of the cost of replacement. These emulated VAX systems will now reliably run on current hardware for at least 15 years.