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What is an Automotive Subassembly Manufacturer

Company Exceeds Customer Quality Expectations 

This manufacturer of convertible top assemblies prides itself in the fit and finish of its products, which meet or exceed the original equipment specifications of its customers, all of which are major automobile manufacturers.

Convertible tops are shipped, complete with a hydraulic/electrical kit, to the automotive assembly plant. All the car manufacturer needs to do is bolt the top in place, make the electrical connection, and install weather seals.

The tops consist of as many as 200 different components — metal stampings or castings, fasteners, and fabric. The quality of ralls, linkage, and other structural components is critical. Rall and linkage thicknesses must be precise if these parts are to have the required strength. Hole diameters, spans, and locations must be exact if fasteners and hinge assemblies are to fit properly. Moreover, with each step of the manufacturing and assembly process, value is added to the top. Adding value to imperfect parts creates costly rework or scrap.

Problem

Quality checks are necessary to ensure the tops meet the automotive manufacturer’s specifications. In the past, employees entered quality control data by hand on charts on the factory floor. The charts were taken by inspectors to the quality department, where data were manually calculated. By the time the information got back to machine operators, it was old and of limited value.

This methodology also created a process road block. Assemblers could build tops faster than inspectors could check them, a situation that constantly hindered productivity.

Solution

To remedy the problem, the company turned to DataMyte, specifically to the 953 data collector and the 914 LVDT gaging system.

The 953 data collectors were installed at final assembly locations in the manufacturing processes. Operators use the data collectors with conventional gaging to check the quality of final assemblies and finished tops. The DataMyte collectors provide immediate information about the quality of the assembly and have helped reduce scrap and rework.

The two DataMyte 953 collectors with 914 LVDT gaging systems are used in the final assembly area. These two important quality stations check tops before and after they are trimmed. As many as 16 LVDT probes are positioned to check the “feel” areas of the top — those areas that are critical to customer satisfaction. The top is placed in the fixture, and the probes engaged. The top can be powered up and down to test its fit.

With the DataMyte 953 data collector and LVDT probes, inspectors complete their quality check in a few seconds, rather than the six to ten minutes previously required. The time savings eliminated the production bottleneck. Now the quality people check and finish inspections and are waiting on the assemblers to build.

The 953 data collectors are downloaded to a computer. In the quality department, employees are able to do data analyses and generate meaningful reports quickly and easily for both the company’s management and customers.

By installing the DataMyte system, the automotive subassembly company was not only able to exceed its customers’ quality expectations, but it also realized accompanying cost savings of up to 40% in some areas of the plant.  

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