When Lear's Montgomery, AL an assembly line facility for producing motor vehicle seating looked for ways to increase its material handling efficiency, quality assurance and ergonomics for a 100 percent on-time delivery schedule, a number of automated material handling equipment, systems and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) were considered and was implemented by Integrated Systems Design (ISD).
At peak production, Lear builds approximately 1,000 seat sets per day or 73 sets per hour in 56 distinct combinations of colors and options for the Hyundai Sonata sedan and Santa Fe SUV built at Hyundai's Alabama plant.The assembly lines use a non-synchronous looping conveyor system, with an automated, timed release at each workstation that can be overridden by the operator when necessary.
Assuring Quality Assembly
The entire assembly process is managed by an Integrated Systems Design (ISD) PC-based quality assurance system that improves overall seat quality by monitoring the seat assembly and sequencing process. The quality assurance system is interlocked to the Integrated Systems Design (ISD) conveyor system to prevent seat movement before each assembly and inspection step is properly completed at a particular workstation.
The system allows Lear operators to simultaneously assemble several different types of seats on the same production line. Build sequence numbers and specific work instructions for each seat are displayed at the assembly line workstations. Critical data, such as torque and angle, are recorded and associated with each seat build sequence number and maintained for years, along with each seat's build record/birth certificate.
Tracking Quality and Delivery Parameters
As the seats move down the assembly conveyors, the quality assurance system receives various tool, equipment and operator inputs and determines whether a seat assembly or component is a "pass" or "fail." This information is used to route defective seats to a repair station, provide notification of defects found at inspection to the operation that caused the defect and provide a means for tracking internal defects. The quality assurance system automatically sends information to Lear's ERP system at several points in the assembly process.
Passive read-write RFID tags are also used in the outbound shipping sequence control system. A chip is mounted to the rear of each of Lear's fleet of conveyorized semitrailers. RFID antennas are located on Lear's shipping dock and Hyundai's receiving dock. When a truck is loaded, trailer sequence information is written to the trailer's RFID chip. The chip's information is then checked to ensure that the write was successful. When the trailer is backed into Hyundai's dock, the RF chip on the semitrailer is read.
Handling Return Pallets
The pallets that the seats are shipped to Hyundai on return to the Lear facility in stacks on dedicated Integrated Systems Design (ISD) conveyorized delivery trailers.He then initiates the trailer unload cycle. The stacks of empty pallets are automatically conveyed to an Integrated Systems Design (ISD) installed mezzanine level where they're staged until needed.
Lear prides itself on achieving 100 percent on-time delivery to the Hyundai plant. The Integrated Systems Design (ISD) material handling equipment and quality assurance system are an integral part of ensuring they maintain their record.
Ed Romaine has over three decades of experience working, speaking and writing articles in the supply chain, logistics and material handling industry. Ed has worked for: ISD, Kardex Remstar, White Systems and Chairman of MHI association groups: ASRS, Supply Chain Execution and Order Fulfillment Council and is CMO-VP Marketing for ISD.
ISD - Integrated Systems Design (http://www.ISDDD.com) is a leading manufacturer and systems consultant, designer and integrator for order fulfillment, warehouse order picking, manufacturing, wholesale, institutions and retail and e-commerce organizations in North America. ISD systems are renowned for their tremendous value, reliability and ease of maintenance. Systems are designed using technologies from the leading material handling manufacturers of the world.
ISD expertise ranges from handling and picking pieces (eaches), cases, pallets, build lines, and special or custom handling solutions. Products and services include: automatic storage and retrieval (ASRS), conveyor, robotics, batch stations, automatic inserters and printers, pick to light, A-frames, horizontal and vertical carousels, vertical lift modules (VLMs), controls, software (including inventory management, WCS, WMS, MES and ERP), application and facility consulting and design, AutoCAD, system simulation, moves, installation and service.
Automated Storage Retrieval Systems in Manufacturing for Per