In the past, automobile manufacturers only required basic forms of leak testing to check standard subassemblies, such as, air conditioning, power train and cooling system components. Traditional hard-vacuum and accumulation methods were—and still are—used to test components such as radiators, evaporators, condensers, air-conditioner hoses, torque converters and valve bodies.
Employees at Fiat Chrysler’s Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI) in Kokomo, IN, have achieved something few in manufacturing can claim—they have logged 10 million hours, or a span of more than three years, without a lost-time injury.
Manufacturers today are producing a wider range of products than ever. Life cycles are shrinking and demand for customization is increasing. As a result, assembly lines must be as flexible as possible without compromising efficiency. That’s why companies producing everything from pumps to pistols and caskets to chainsaws depend on mixed-model assembly.
When the first issue of ASSEMBLY rolled off the printing press in October 1958, the jet age was just beginning. Aerospace manufacturers were busy churning out bigger, faster, quicker and lighter products for a wide range of commercial and military applications.
Boeing and its heritage companies, such as Douglas Aircraft Co., McDonnell Aircraft Corp. and North American Aviation Inc., have produced hundreds of different types of airplanes, helicopters, missiles, rockets, satellites, spacecraft and other flying objects over the last 10 decades.
The world was a much different place when William Boeing started to build aeroplanes in a small boathouse along the shore of Seattle’s Lake Union in 1916. Flying machines were still a novelty. Most aviation records, such as altitude, distance and speed, were held by European aircraft manufacturers and pilots.