A BIW Maintenance Team made up of Aaron Newsome, Glen McLean, Paul Amos and Stuart Rainsford have developed a simple but effective solution to repair and strengthen ‘snail’ housing that is used to protect service looms on our BIW manufacturing robots.
The idea has the potential to save thousands on replacement parts, prevent costly further damage and has the added environmental bonus of reducing plastic waste too.
For those not familiar with BIW robot cells, the ‘snails’ are there to tension the service looms attached to the robots. Each of these snails has a plastic cover, but these covers are prone to being pulled away from their mountings resulting in them breaking.
The plastic covers themselves cost £280 each buy new, but the failure of these parts often cause further damage to the service looms themselves which have a price tag of £3500 to replace.
Stuart and his team had just finished working on one of the new BIW Cells in C Block when he realised he had four of these damaged cases ready to go in the bin.
“I looked down at the snail cases and they were practically new,” said Stuart. “They always seem to break in the same place and I was tired of scrapping them and paying for new ones.
“So instead, I went into the Maintenance workshop with the beginnings of an idea and set the team the challenge to figure out a way of fixing them, whilst making them more durable.”
Aaron and Paul took Stuart’s initial idea, made a few enhancements and developed a set of brackets that could be refitted to the snail cases making them stronger than the original parts.
“The lads had come up with a great idea that instantly saved over £1100 on replacing those covers alone,” continued Stuart. “Even better was the fact that Glen who was working the night shift had seen what they’d been doing and by the following morning had built a jig that would enable us to make the repairs even quicker.”
It soon became obvious to the team that the repaired snails were in fact much stronger than the originals.
So that got them thinking….
“Saving £280 on buying in new covers is great,” Stuart continued. “But the real saving comes from us working in a preventative way by add these strengthening brackets to all the snail covers before they break in the first place.”
The team are now planning on installing these simple, in-house built brackets to all of the new snails in BIW across the plant. They predict that when installed, this simple idea could minimise part failures, reduce the potential damage to expensive service looms and ultimately protect production from costly stoppages.
Commenting on the team’s work, BIW Technology Manager, Colin Walton said.
“This is another great example of cost saving from the maintenance team here in the Bodyshop, demonstrating perfectly how simple solutions can save thousands of pounds. Some might see these parts as relatively inexpensive at £280 each, however we have shared this with all of the BIW areas within JLR through the Technology Forum to make sure that we get maximum benefit in all of our plants.
“This is exactly the kind of mind-set we need, what excites me most is that our people have so many creative solutions to save money and I know that there is much more to come!”