Being one of the Detroit Three automakers has its perks and its challenges. The main benefit is widespread brand recognition—which is inherently accompanied by the challenge of making sure that every vehicle produced is safe, comfortable and reliable.
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is one of the Detroit Three and the world’s seventh largest automaker. Its well-known brands include Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Trucks and Abarth.
Recently, managers at an FCA plant in Michigan faced a big challenge on the assembly line. Assemblers were regularly breaking bits and damaging bolts as they were being installed to secure front seats in the Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee.
“FCA had recurring tooling breakage and poor (bolt) driver system performance,” explains Dan Yoder, director of automotive applications for Phillips Screw Co. “This resulted in as many as eight line stoppages per shift, which greatly slowed production. In addition, end-of-line rework and repair were required to correct damaged fasteners and scarred frames.”
Last summer, Phillips’ fastener engineers met with FCA production managers to address the problem. After testing various fasteners, in September 2014 FCA replaced its bolts with M10-diameter bolts featuring a low-profile head and a Mortorq Super drive developed by Phillips.
“The improved bolt design ensures that the seat-to-frame joint is properly tightened,” says Yoder. “Bits do not break anymore, significantly reducing the need for corrective actions and saving
Chrysler an average of 18 to 20 cents per vehicle. Another benefit is assemblers and mechanics easily remove and replace the bolts without damaging them.”
The Mortorq drive series is Phillips latest. It was initially developed in 2002 to provide aerospace manufacturers a drive head that ensured removal of all screws (intact and damaged) during plane repairs and overhauls. None of the screws that aerospace manufacturers were using had drive heads strong enough to handle the extra torque needed to remove damaged screws or those stuck in place due to wear.
“Often times, the drive head failed before the screwdriver,” notes Mike Mowins, president of Phillips Screw. “Mortorq makes sure the screwdriver fails before the screw does.”
The Mortorq Super drive features four curved, triangular wings spread from a center point. This shape provides full contact of the driver bit. Its low-profile head reduces the weight of fastened components, and its shallow recess enables off-angle driving and accommodates paint build-up.
Phillips also offers the Mortorq spiral drive for screws and the External Mortorq Super drive for bolts. The latter features a raised six-curved-star design that ensures robust head-to-socket mating, while minimizing clearance between components.
Impressed with the performance of the Mortorq Super drive bolts, FCA is currently reviewing several other fastener applications where extended bit life and higher torque capability can reduce costs and improve reliability.
For more information on bolt drive systems, call 781-224-9750 or visit www.phillips-screw.com.