Optimizing the process chain
March 2012 – Optimal positioning of rear axle adjustment within an auto assembly line is crucial to an efficient process. Dürr Assembly Products has developed not only a concept for optimizing the process chain but also a reconfigurable rear axle alignment station. This allows process chains for vehicle final assembly to be planned with minimum time and cost effort yet with variability.
It is possible to carry out the alignment of axle geometry directly as part of rear axle assembly, on the preparation line prior to the marriage station, on the main assembly line after the marriage station or on a chassis test stand located in the end-of-line area. But where, in fact, is the very best place for it to be carried out? Seeking to find the answer to this question Dürr Assembly Products, working in cooperation with the German RWTH Aachen University, analyzed the whole assembly process chain. In doing so, several criteria were examined more closely, including variant generation in axle production, access to track-and-camber adjustment mechanisms as well as levels of automation.
The study indicated two significant aspects to optimization of the assembly process chain: firstly, the positioning of rear axle alignment within the process as a whole and secondly, a product-specific, flexible design of the rear axle alignment station. Parameters for the relevant influencing factors were evaluated, weighted and linked, by way of example, with framework requirements and conditions for a variety of OEMs.
The results of the process analysis showed that the ideal solution for the majority of auto manufacturers was to have rear axle alignment carried out within the sub-assembly area. By examining many different examples of axles available on the market and by classifying typical axle characteristics, a flexible and modular system concept was found that could be adapted quickly and with a high degree of scalability to suit changing product variant situations and production volume fluctuations.
Working together with the customer, Dürr Assembly Products is in a position to define, on the basis of these new concepts, optimal production flows that allow an efficient and fast reaction to changes in the production environment.