Continuous Improvement

Background: A multi-national, Tier-1 automotive supplier acquired a facility which manufactured power train components. The product manufactured were familiar, but the materials and processes were new to our client. Just-in-time supply was expected which resulted in the necessity for high plant efficiency and elevated work-force levels and overtime.

ICI's Contribution: A plant-wide assessment was conducted to analyze product flow and labor input. A single front-end operation was generating excessive airborne particulate which permeated control electronics of downstream equipment. The result was intermittent failures and the need for increased maintenance staff. ICI worked with outside vendors to develop a LASER based process that virtually eliminated airborne particulate, automated a once-manual process, and greatly improved the plant wide environment.

Engineering & Design

Background: A high volume component manufacturer faced increasing reject rates for critical tight tolerance parts. Little had changed in the the manufacturing process to suggest a possible cause for the failures. Demand for ergonomic improvements within the operation meant the engineering staff was beyond capacity.

ICI's Contribution: A technology search was conducted comparing various measurement and inspection devices. A non-contact, high speed system was selected for part tolerance and run out measurement that emulated end-user inspection systems but exceeded measuring capability of the end user equipment. At the shop floor level, the system displayed a simple pass/fail status for quick action. At the management level, the system performed statistical analysis to warn of trends that may lead to subsequent part tolerance drift.

 

Research & Development

Background: A leading producer of textiles had purchased several products from various manufacturers claiming to be capable of performing high speed, vision-based processing. Image processing had to be performed at feed rates of over 400 yards per minute continuous flow. All products purchased had failed and were removed from service. A workable system was immediately required.

ICI's Contribution: Vision lab capabilities were adapted to the application. Test samples were run at progressively higher rates until a margin of safety was determined. Once a system capable of reliable performance with an order of magnitude safety factor was selected, the balance of the industrialized equipment was developed. Pilot installations were placed in low-risk areas facilitating product refinement and identification of support requirements. Proven and effective systems are now at work throughout our client's multiple plants.

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