Bosch Rexroths assembly technology driving lean production for SEW-EURODRIVE
Tectra Automation recently supplied SEW-EURODRIVE’s Johannesburg assembly plant with a manual production system that is allowing the company to increase the efficiency of its gearbox assembly operation.
The manual production system (MPS) consists of four production lines, each currently with four workstations per line. They have been in use since January this year.
“If capacity necessitates it, the system can allow for up to four workers to work on a single box, theoretically speeding up lead times by 400%,” explains Clinton Warrington, Quality Management, SEW-EURODRIVE. “You also get a better product consistency as well as a production system that’s a lot more flexible and responsive to changes in customer and market demand. With One Piece Flow production we are continuously achieving a leaner plant.”
The MPS is equipped with an array of purpose-built component bins, tool holders, trays, manual and hydraulic pressesand pneumatic tools that SEW-EURODRIVE themselves added to the system. These ergonomic systems are essential in maintaining the lean flow of assembly across the line.
“The MPS hasn’t only increased the efficiency and quality of our production, it has also lowered operating expenditure through more efficient usage and storage of tools and components,” Warrington continues. “By always having tools and components within arm’s reach, we maximise ergonomics for maximum worker productivity, and we can ensure that each station is always stocked and equipped. With a place for each tool, the chance of them getting misplaced, lost and damaged is also reduced.”
The modular design of the MPS, and the range of connectors and fittings that can be used in assembling a production line, means that it can be easily modified and further customised beyond the initial design.
“The beauty of Bosch Rexroth’s MPS is its adaptability and scalability,” explains Jonathan Narainsamy, Product Specialist: Assembly Technology, Tectra Automation. “The basic design using the MPS system can be changed, automated and optimised as we get smarter about SEW-EURODRIVE’s assembly processes and how they interact with the MPS. It allows us to respond to inefficiencies and waste across the process as we go.”
SEW-EURODRIVE will ultimately implement MPS for its motor assembly operations as well. The company is also in the processes of equipping its Cape Town, Durban and Nelspruit branches with two MPS lines each.
Each assembly line consists of four workstations, each with strategically placed tools, parts and components for maximum efficiency.
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