Walk into any modern assembly and packaging facility, and the conveyor systems may very well resemble roller coasters at an amusement park—going up steep inclines, moving down drops, and twisting and turning around equipment and machinery as they transfer product from one area of the plant to another.
When an assembly press supplier meets with a manufacturer to discuss its next purchase, both parties focus on one question: Which type and model of press is best for the current application? Mike Brieschke, vice president of sales at Aries Engineering Corp., recalls how two such meetings in 2006 with automotive OEMs led the supplier to ask itself another question: Which type of press is best for the future of assembly?
One way for a manufacturer to enter a new market is through acquisition. However, one downside of the strategy is that the manufacturing assets you acquire do not always mesh perfectly with how you like to do things.
In every manufacturing industry, tradition is becoming less important. Companies no longer assume that what worked in the past will be enough to keep and gain customers. Instead, they look to the latest technology to improve manufacturing processes, optimize product quality and expand their customer base.
Walk through any automotive plant, and there’s a good chance you’ll see lift assists in use for product assembly. Common lift assists include large or small hoists, air balancers, extension arms and end-effectors (clamp, hook, vacuum, magnet, etc.).
Today’s typical automobile features nearly 100 exterior and interior sensors, with the number likely to increase in the near future. Those located on the outside (axle load, steering angle, blind spots, air temperature, etc.) require special protection from the elements and unique production methods.
"Creative" and “lean.” Do those words go together? I have been a lean practitioner for more than 20 years, and I’ve never heard the phrase “creative lean.” But don’t we love those creative solutions? Don’t we get excited when an idea comes from out in left field and it works?