OTA processing project at Castle Bromwich expands to include Range Rover Velar.
Recently, we covered the project that brought F-PACE OTA processing to our plant and we've since seen Castle Bromwich adding value to the business by reducing WIP and getting vehicles into the hands of our customers.
Those eagle-eyed amongst you will have probably already noticed a distinctive Range Rover flavour to the latest batch of vehicles working their way through the process. That’s because the project has now expanded to offer our Solihull sister plant extra support by processing Range Rover Velars too.
In our previous article we talked about some of physical changes our Maintenance team had made to the OTA equipment and the great work the Plant Launch team had been doing to process the cars.
This time we wanted to dive into the work that Manufacturing Engineering and the IT teams completed in record time to prepare all the equipment for the new vehicles and all the work to get our computer systems linked up and talking to the Soilhull plant.
We also wanted to shine some light on the huge effort that’s being undertaken by the Quality Team who have flexibly redeployed and are ensuring the two new vehicles arrive with our customers to the highest quality standards.
“Just before Christmas the ME team were asked to see if it would be possible to process F-PACEs at Castle Bromwich so we pulled together a cross functional working group with experts from each plant and got to work.” Said Chris Love, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, for Castle Bromwich.
In a quick turn of events, what started off in theory, rapidly turned into an urgent request to help safeguard Q3 production volume that had been impacted by increased WIP due to Covid related parts supply issues.
“One of the main challenges was getting our IT environment to link up with the Solihull applications in particular VCATS, Flags and D42 printing”, added Castle Bromwich IT Manager, Neil Millican.
“To do this we treated D Block as an extension of Solihull and quickly mobilised our teams to expand the wireless capability in the area, change firewalls in record time to integrate the two plants, ordered, built, configured and delivered 23 laptops to the shop floor to run as Flags stations with scanners mounted on bespoke benches built by the in-house tool shop. It was a huge effort by all the team to deploy these solutions which have run flawlessly since go-live, a big thanks to all involved.”
While IT were on the case doing their thing, the Manufacturing Engineering Team set about making all the changes to the OTA equipment needed to process a new vehicle.
“In addition to some physical changes to part of the rigs, the databases and settings files had to be set up to enable processing of F-PACE, along with a significant amount of work from our VCATS colleagues to enable the full testing and setup protocols for the SUVs. We did all of this work entirely in-house” continued Chris.
“Within just four days the initial work was complete, and the first car made its way through D Block’s OTA. This is something that would have cost tens of thousands of pounds and taken weeks if not months to achieve if we’d had relied on external contractors as we’d done in the past. It shows a real change of mindset, delivered through fantastic teamwork”
What makes this team effort even more impressive was the fact that it was replicated again in A1/A2 and once more recently to install the capability to process the Velar that has additional air suspension testing to take into account.
Another important part of this story is the contribution that the Quality team continue to make to ensure that customers continue to receive the highest quality products.
Steve Bench, Plant Quality Launch Manager filled us in on the details.
“When we heard the plan to start carrying out OTA work for the Solihull models at Castle Bromwich, we knew we’d need a combined effort from across the Quality team to ensure the new vehicles sold out of our plant met the high standards that we expect with any vehicle made here,” said Steve.
“Once IT had got us connected to the quality system at Solihull our main challenge was to set up a team able to run the quality processes, ensuring that all the checks were completed to the new vehicle specifications.
To do this they were able to call on the support of the Quality Validation team and utilise the Plant Quality Launch team, who had until recently been supporting the D7a saloon launch at CB.
“The work was fundamentally different for some of the team, but the leadership of our experienced GL’s and the attitude of the whole PQ team more than made up for this. We were quickly up and running with all the usual quality processes such as Paint Select, Squeak and Rattle Rig test, CAL checks, Repair buy off, a RIS buy off activity in T Block and of course the all the supporting audits,” Steve continued.
“The team have since continued to work alongside their colleagues from both Castle Bromwich and Solihull as we’ve helped reduce the overall number of WIP and get vehicles sold and into the hands of their new owners.”
To date our Castle Bromwich plant has processed and sold 1759 F-PACEs and Velars through our facility and counting.
Billy Cox, Castle Bromwich’s Senior Launch Manager who has been co-ordinating the project added.
“I’d like to thank, Chris, Steve and Neil and their teams for their support and hard work. The flexibility shown over the last few weeks by everybody involved in this project has been outstanding and the work is generating much needed cash into our business at this difficult time.
“As the project has been going so well, I’m pleased to say that we’ve committed to support clearing another 600 cars this month.”
Congratulations once again to everyone involved, keep up the great work.