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What is a Light Truck Engine Plant

Piston Machining Line Realizes Major Cost Savings 

The machining departments at a major truck engine plant were involved in a total quality improvement program, with weekly meetings held to find ways to increase productivity while maintaining and improving quality. Continuous improvements in engine design increased the demands on operators performing manual data collection and charting. The improvements also required the plant’s SPC coordinator and associates to spend additional time analyzing data.

Problem

Tighter tolerances and the increased production for supporting a new engine line required a faster, more accurate method of data collection in the piston machining department. More timely and accurate data was needed to support the quality goals established for the plant and the department. To meet these requirements, some operators spent up to 2 hours of an 8-hour shift performing manual data collection and charting. With the manual system, lathe operators were able to collect periodic data on only 6 characteristics.

Solution

DataMyte 953 data collectors were set up at work stations in the piston machining department. See Figure 10.4.1. The number of characteristics at the lathe operation increased from 6 to 108, resulting in more accurate data.

An operator uses the 953 data collector to take piston diameter readings.

Real-time data collection, coupled with instantaneous trend alert, has resulted in projected annual savings of more than $300,000 in increased uptime and $7,000 in scrap. Labor savings of more than 5 hours per day in the piston department resulted in annual savings of $39,000.

A DataMyte TurboNET network was connected to the factory floor workstations with a personal computer in the area manager’s office, giving management full access to any characteristic at any operation. This gives management direct access to factory floor data for timely reaction and process control.

Plant management and operators looked at several types of data collectors, but decided on the 953 because it was easy to use. Operators, who had taken up to 6 months to feel comfortable with manual charting, found that they were right at home with the 953 data collector after only 1 week. The 953s are now used to collect data at 4 machining operations. 

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