Hackathon helps optimise Riversimple factory

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A Siemens hackathon has helped Riversimple reduce the size of its forthcoming hydrogen car factory in Wales by 20 per cent.

The 48-hour event saw experienced Siemens engineers working alongside graduates and apprentices in a virtual sprint. Teams used planning and simulation software for manufacturing operations and factory simulation software to design the new production facility, which is due to open in 2024.

Riversimple’s fully hydrogen-powered Rasa vehicle will be produced at the plant, with the company targeting a production capacity of 5,000 vehicles a year. Starting from the existing plans for a 150,000 sq. ft facility, the hackathon teams used engineers used Siemens’ PLM software Plant Simulation to optimise processes, helping to reduce the factory’s footprint by a fifth.

"Through the innovative work of the hackathon and leveraging Siemens’ expertise in technology software and plant simulation, driven by its engineering talent, we have been able to reduce the size of the proposed factory by 20 per cent, saving significant cost from the outset, and supporting our ambitions for environmental sustainability,” said Chris Foxall, financial director at Riversimple.

"It's a fantastic outcome from our new partnership, with much more to come as we pursue our goal of creating the world’s most sustainable car factory to build the cars of the future, powered by hydrogen.”

The hackathon brought together a mixture of experienced Siemens engineers and younger talent, facilitated by Dave Sutcliffe, head of Automotive, Olivia Kelly, software engineer, and Elliot Bloor, a higher industrial engineering apprentice. Participants were split into three teams focused on different areas: the composite manufacturing process; assembly and end of line; and energy. The results were presented to key stakeholders at Siemens UK, Riversimple and the Welsh government.

“The hackathon was a monumental exercise that resulted in a practical design for a future factory which will produce the cars of the future,” said Brian Holliday, managing director, Digital Industries, Siemens UK and Ireland.

“I am extremely proud of our team of engineers, including many apprentices and graduates at the start of their careers. Once again, we set a significant challenge to use brainstorming and development to accelerate ideas into real-life solutions, and once again they have come up trumps, demonstrating the power of collaboration and digital enterprise tools.”