Assembly In Action: Workstations Help GM Supplier Deliver Just in Time, Every Time
Every day, Android ships hundreds of engine and transmission assemblies to GM by trailer truck for just-in-time placement onto awaiting chassis for Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks. In fact, Android’s decision to build its plant in Shreveport was the result of being awarded a GM assembly contract to support the introduction of these two truck lines.
Opened in 2003, the Android plant encompasses 226,000 square feet. Interestingly, not one robot can be found in all that space. Instead, located up and down the assembly line are skilled technicians accompanied by modular Flow Cell workstations that help them meet and exceed critical production targets.
Shreveport is the first Android Industries facility to use Flow Cell workstations, says Mark Geer, lead engineer for Android and a member of the facility’s launch team. From these workstations, which are made by UNEX Manufacturing Inc., workers quickly and easily grab components that they then attach to engine and transmission assemblies at a steady pace.
“We can put four days worth of material on the Flow Cell and not have to replace material,” says Geer.
Geer outfitted the Shreveport plant with equipment similar to that used in the company’s other plants. However, when it came to workstations, he wanted an alternative to pipe-type structures with plastic wheels—which the company had used in other plants.
Flow Cell workstations feature standard mix and match components that include vertical posts, horizontal beams, and Span-Track full-width roller tracks. The components are durable and designed to withstand the heavy-duty high-volume pace of manufacturing plants. They are made to perform well for many years and come with a seven-year warranty.
Geer likes that the components create a workstation that is durable, mobile and ergonomic. He also likes the system’s flexibility. Workstations can be assembled, disassembled and reassembled quickly and easily as needed. Common reasons include a new worker who needs the workstation to be a different height, or the workstation must be moved to a different area of the plant.
Geer also likes the Span-Track roller tracks, which allow easy component flow from load point to pick point and are easy to reposition in the workstation. Android workers use the tracks to transport items like bolt boxes and hand-to-handle totes.
The Shreveport facility features 22 Flow Cell workstations, which were all constructed in one day by production line employees. Geer says each one took about 30 minutes to build.
For more information on modular workstations, call 888-460-7726 or visit www.unex.com.