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What is an Automotive Engine Plant

Machining Inspection, Capability Studies Automated

This major auto manufacturer’s engine plant turns out a new design of V-6 engine for a highly successful mid-sized car line. Employees are enthusiastic over their role in the car’s debut, and they’re especially excited about the high level of quality in their finished product.

Problem

The competitive quality requirements for a new automotive line dictated automated SPC from the very beginning. The engine plant could not afford to start with anything less than fully-automated SPC to get the line up and running as quickly as possible to meet demand.

Gaging was done manually, with gage readings written down on paper. All calculations were then performed manually or keyed into a software program for analysis. Data collectors would also be used for machine capability studies as the line was set up. When the studies were completed, all gaging information for each operation would exist in the data collectors.

Solution

DataMyte 953 data collectors were on-line at the plant as production began on the new 24-valve, 3.5 liter engines. “A critical element of the head machining line is measuring manufacturing hole spread,” according to a quality engineer for the head machining department, the first department to use the 953. “The distances between holes in the engine head determine the machining locations for all machines on the line, making this the most important measurement we take,” he added.

The most immediate benefit from using the 953 is time saved. In a multi-characteristic operation such as this, the operator needs to concentrate on machine function and quality checking. There is no time to do statistical plotting on paper. What may have taken a week to do manually now takes a day or less.

Machine capability studies involved from 2 to 100 characteristics on anywhere from 25 to 50 parts. “With the 953, as many characteristics as needed could be checked, and statistics were ready at the push of a button.”

The plant is now running 3,200 engines per day. The operators used to use a check sheet for all auditing functions. Now the information is taken from the data collector and loaded into DataMyte software.

This has given the plant an electronic filing system, and it hasn’t needed to increase manpower. Ten years ago, it would have taken 20 people to do the work that the eight-member quality department does now.

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