Teams across the business are embracing Charge by identifying IDEAS that can be turned into ACTIONS to quickly generate CASH for our business.
The Sealer Maintenance team in Halewood have silenced the doubters with a Charge + inspired idea to reduce the noise inside the new PHEV Evoque and Discovery Sport.
After tests revealed that Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) was too high inside the new models for customers, the challenge was loud and clear, how can extra noise reduction pads – known as CLDs – be fitted to the car using robots in the paint shop instead of paying for the extra cost of manual labour?
Lead Programmes Engineer, Steve Hughes, explains: “The initial request from Vehicle NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) Team came through to the Halewood Paint team in October 2019. Following a feasibility study we initially rejected the proposal as the robots couldn’t reach far enough inside the engine bay area. Plans were therefore developed that involved adding an extra three associates in Trim and Final to manually fit the CLD pads.
“In the spirit of Charge+ we were determined to find a different and more cost-effective solution and so despite our initial rejection of the idea, we went to the robot area and discussed the idea of applying NVH to the engine bay with the Sealer Maintenance Team.”
Rising to the challenge, Ian Mills, Sam Miller, Gavin Hall and Andy Shepherd who work in Halewood’s Sealer Maintenance area designed and developed an in-house modification to the existing robot by creating an extension to the robot arm.
This enabled the required noise reduction material to be sprayed in place in the Paint Shop rather than having to be applied manually via an additional process in Trim and Final.
With the full support of the rest of the Maintenance team from the Sealer Robot area, Ian, Sam, Gavin and Andy worked on the cell and robot modifications during weekends, gaps and down periods including the Brexit shutdown week. They also partnered with the NVH, Body Engineering and VME teams to ensure the proposal delivered the required NVH improvements whilst maintaining the required cycle time of the sealer robot cell.
Steve adds: “Using an external company to solve the problem for us would have cost us around £60k and we were determined to avoid this so by bringing it in house this halved this cost saving an additional £30k. In addition, fitting CLD pads manually in Trim would have cost in the region of £120k per year. So the initiative has saved around £150k in total.
“I also registered the project with the ME Self Sufficiency Team so that we could track the savings/cost avoidance to fully support the new ME vision of being self-sufficient and using existing, internal resources wherever possible.”
The project was fully trialled, commissioned and switched in to full production in mid-January. Following on from this successful project, phase two is it to work closely with the NVH, Body Engineering and Programme teams to look at more manually fitted CLD pads that could possibly be replaced by the robots (whilst maintaining cycle time & NVH performance) and this piece of work will be shared across other plants and car lines.
Steve Wilson, Halewood Programmes Manager, was instrumental in securing the funding to deliver the robotic solution in-house. He concludes: “In addition to saving the company money, this project really highlights the benefits of getting out onto the shop floor to engage and work with the real ‘experts’! By doing this we will definitely uncover more great ideas like this one.”