Recently a major production stoppage was averted thanks to some quick work by the Trim and Final Maintenance Team with the support of their R Block and Press Shop Toolroom colleagues.
The IP (Instrument Panel) lift tower for D block is where trucks unload incoming IPs onto the lift before they’re hoisted 9 metres into the air before making their way through the roof rafters and dropped down onto Line 2.
On the Wednesday afternoon the team was alerted to an issue with a slack belt by the monitors on the lift. After initially resetting the belt and restarting the lift the issue reoccurred again shortly afterwards, indicating that there may be a much larger problem.
“We managed to rectify the issue two or three times and limp the lift through the afternoon to protect production,” said James Gregory, Trim and Final Maintenance Leader. “The team on the late shift set about realigning the timing belts and pulley but soon realised that it was completely jammed in place.”
“We knew we had a serious issue but needed the lift working for production the following morning, so we managed to release some material off the locking ring and get a truckload of empty IP carriers back on the trailer,” added Rob Morgan, Trim and Final Maintenance Leader on Afternoon shifts that day. “However the next morning with the weight of the IPs in the carriers it has tracked back out of place and was again jammed in place.”
“Throughout the day shift we managed to slowly get IPs into the block but we knew there was a major underlying problem that needed sorting,” James continued. “Despite our best efforts to keep it going, by the end of the day we were close to a complete failure with the belts unable to track at all.”
With production finished for the weekend the team knew they had a short window to properly dismantle the lift pulley system to identify and repair the issue.
When they removed the upper mechanism from its aperture they were shocked to see what had happened…
“We started lowering it to the floor and it literally fell to pieces,” said Rob. “The entire shaft had sheared in two and the only thing that had been holding it in place was the Pulley. We knew at that point we’d be up against it to get replacement parts in and reinstalled for the start of shift on Monday.”
The team ordered the parts from the supplier, but worried that it wouldn’t arrive soon enough also hedged their bets by getting their hands on the drawings for the shaft and headed down to our R1 Block Toolroom to see if they could fabricate the piece from scratch.
“If we didn’t get going by midday on Saturday we’d have had no chance of starting production on Monday morning,” Rob continued.
True to form the team in the Toolroom team managed to create the new part faster than the supplier could deliver one.
However, whilst they were waiting for the Toolroom to work their magic, the team did have one other big issue to sort out, as one half of the shaft had become completely stuck in the Pulley.
“If we wanted to reuse the pulley, we needed to remove the shaft but it was well and truly stuck and the presses we have in our Trim & Final workshop just didn’t have the power to shift it,” said James. “We made a call to the team in the CB Press Shop to see if they had any kit that could help free the broken shaft.”
Barrie Heath, Alan Heath and Steve Dixon were only too happy to help, but despite the extra power of their equipment the part was still proving difficult to move. Realising their colleagues were working against the clock and running out of time they decided the only way to remove it was to bore it out.
With the final major obstacle out of the way and all the parts they needed the Trim and Final Maintenance team working all out were able to install the new shaft, fix the pulley system and reload the IP carriers ready for Monday morning’s production
Congratulating the team on their great effort, Brian Winters, trim and Final Maintenance manager said.
“This is a fantastic joined up effort showing Maintenance and Toolroom teams from across Castle Bromwich working together to quickly rectify what could have been a major production loss. This perfectly demonstrates the kind of great work that goes on behind the scenes here at the plant using our in-house talent. Well done to everyone involved.”
Congratulations again guys on some top work, special mention to Mark Taylor, Dan Simkiss and James Swann who carried out all of the repair work, to Steve Clarke who fabricated the new shaft and again to Barrie, Alan and Steve in the Press Shop.