A Michigan automotive components and stamping supplier needed an error-proofing and data-collection system for a transmission-transfer-case-marriage subassembly line. It selected a turnkey system that lets manufacturers measure, analyze, improve, and control assembly and manufacturing processes on plant floors.
The transmission-transfer-case project came from Magna, the company responsible for attaching transfer cases to transmissions for V6 and V8 DCX 300C transmissions. It was decided that the assembly should be offsite in a just-in-time delivery plant to reduce final assembly cycle time. So the supplier worked with Global ET, a supplier of integrated electronic solutions for data collection, analysis, and error proofing.
Global ET recommended its SIMSigma software, which would help Magna adhere to QS 9000 and Six Sigma quality requirements. Working with both the supplier and Magna, the company implemented SIMSigma in a single-station assembly line tailored to the two other companies' needs.
Parallel build-up lets the supplier build two parts at a time. The system is located in a distribution warehouse and consists of computers, flat-panel displays, network equipment, SIMSigma software, torque controllers, pick detectors, barcode scanners, two build-up tables, and racks for stacking the parts.
Global ET documented specific work instructions from the OEM into an electronic format, along with graphics to make the process simple to follow and understand. The system incorporates visual feedback with color-coded computer graphics and photos to guide operators through the assembly process. When the operation is done correctly, the item on the screen turns green. If done incorrectly, it's red.
The operator places completed assemblies on a metal rack. Filled racks then travel to the final assembly line at the OEM's facility. Traceability is inherent in the SIMSigma system because it includes barcoding and other electronic devices that let manufacturers sort data by build history, VIN number, date built, and subassembly line.
SIMSigma saves time and money on the final assembly line, since parts take five min to build. Operators at the DCX plant pick one part from the shelf and put it on the car. Offsite subassembly and SIMSigma increase efficiency and streamline the OEM's operation.
The software also gives both DCX and Magna the assurance that parts are built correctly. Error-proofing capability saves on warranty costs when only good parts leave the plant. Warranty costs initially incurred by OEMs are often passed on to Tier-1 module suppliers and Tier-2 subcomponent manufacturers.
Farmington Hills, Mich.