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Lean Assembly Excellence Centre in Bratislava: The path to error proofed production

Photo: Atlas Copco

Demonstration production line

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Systematic pressure to lower production costs, speed up production and minimize rejects during assembly – all of this calls for intelligent approaches. In Bratislava, Atlas Copco has built its customers a demonstration line to show off its latest solutions.

Atlas Copco’s industrial tools division now meets its customers at new premises on Elektrárenská St. in Bratislava. There the Lean Assembly Excellence Centre contains both a training centre and, most important, a demonstration assembly line. The idea is to allow Atlas Copco’s customers to choose the most suitable level of quality control and find out what safety requirements must be met.

Five steps, five control stations
Atlas Copco has defined five tightening process control steps that must be ensured to achieve zero-fault fastening right during assembly. That’s because the later a production defect is discovered, the more it costs to fix it. And if the problem doesn’t appear until the consumer sees it, the cost of possible recalls shoots to astronomical levels, not to mention the damage to the brand’s reputation.

Atlas Copco’s demo line has five stations. The first station is devoted to pneumatic tools. Here it is necessary to make sure that a nutrunner works at the specified torque within the established limits. This requires a shut-off tool. In that case, an ordinary pulse shut-off tool was used, along with a brand new battery-operated BCV clutch screwdriver.

At the second station, the system watches to make sure the operator doesn’t forget any screws. This means that the tool must be connected to control unit that continuously counts the screws that have been tightened the right way. For this purpose, Atlas Copco uses a unique pulse tool called the Pulsor C with electronic shut-off.

Photo: Atlas Copco

Lean Assembly Excellence Centre in Bratislava

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Never forget anything
Naturally, the third station contains the previous two steps, but besides that, it makes sure that the tool functions properly and that the operator doesn’t forget any screws. The system also makes sure that all components are assembled. When this step is completed, we can guarantee that the “joint is OK”. We achieve a worthy goal by watching the angle.

If the tightening angle is too small, the material in the joint may be too hard, a seal may be missing, etc. If the angle is too big, the material may be too soft, bad parts may have been used, etc.

To adequately watch the angle, an electrical system is needed. Therefore, at this part of the production line, customers can get to know the unique, next-generation Tensor ES electric screwdrivers. They use the outstanding TurboTight strategy, which improves comfort when tightening.

Favourite tool, more productivity
The job of the fourth station is to ensure that all safety-critical joints are in order. This calls for transducerized nutrunners that allow torque and angle control. The unique tightening strategy, tighten to Yield point, maximize clamping force and it allows to reduce screw sizes. At the Excellence Centre in Bratislava, Atlas Copco shows transducerized battery powered angle nutrunner Tensor ETV STB and Tensor ETP STR electric nutrunner. It has a pistol handle made of composite material reinforced with carbon fibres.

Atlas Copco’s unique motors ensure Tensor tools’ exceptional spindle speed, thus helping the user shorten cycle times during the operation. 

Thanks to outstanding ergonomics in terms of balance, grip and low weight, these tools are a favourite among operators and increase individual productivity. All Tensor tools are equipped with LED control lights that signal the tightening results – green for right, and red for wrong.

Correcting defects
The fourth and fifth station has a network application connection for verifying results. If a defect appears, it should be possible to tell whether it was corrected before the product leaves the production line.

The fifth step is represented by a fully automatic system based on Power Macs 4000 control units with a QST spindle.

The last station on the Excellence Centre’s demo production line operates as an area for reworking defective products. It has STwrench digital torque wrench that offers two functionalities through different RBUs (Rapid Backup Unit). STwrench can be used as a standard production tool with complete traceability through the ToolsNet 4000 data collection system. Second option is to use it as a tool for quality process check or joint analysis.

The demonstration assembly line at Atlas Copco’s Bratislava office is an excellent example of how zero-fault production can be attained with complete traceability. This ensures customers improved manufacturing quality and sustainable productivity at their companies.

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