Brace For Impact
Crash tests provide insight into a vehicle’s crash-worthiness. It is the equalizer between brands, makes and models. Your part’s performance to standards translates to passenger and pedestrian safety, zero environmental impact and vehicle value. If it fails to perform, buckling on impact, you must find a fix — fast. Your fix determines if you win or lose a program.
After failing to meet the crash standard, the end-user customer — conscious of Amanda’s capabilities, efficiencies and superior craftsmanship — recommended the part’s maker seek Amanda’s help to solve the problem.
Though Amanda’s engineers excel in creative problem-solving, this request presented a unique challenge.
Size. Material. Shape. Process.
The part weighed in at nine pounds and “x” feet. It required two distinct mounting points. The material of choice, a steel alloy, did not maintain the part’s shape and worse, it failed upon impact.
Our engineers began by investigating the material. The material had to 1) maintain shape; 2) be malleable; and 3) be strong enough to absorb and displace the energy created by an impact to protect passengers, pedestrians and the environment.
Once we selected the material, we had to refine the process to ensure the integrity of the design was maintained and/or strengthened throughout the operations.
Today, a growing contingent stands on the idea that a quality manufacturer is an automated manufacturer. To go a step further, some believe that people are the reason for lost efficiencies, inconsistencies and bad parts. However, we at Amanda Manufacturing believe that a good manufacturer integrates people and automation to support and augment the process.
Our client understood the sequence of events needed to make the part and suggested that we would use robots to produce the part. Out of respect for our client’s vision, we attempted to solely use robots and spent a considerable amount of time trying to design a robotics-led solution. However, we soon realized that relying on robots presented an efficiency problem.
Process. Reimagined. Integrated.
In manufacturing, cycle times are important, quality is expected, and efficiencies are the goal. How would we include all the steps, with limited automation, to produce a perfectly crafted part to specifications within the parameters? Thoughtful workcell design, that’s how.
We determined that we needed to reimagine the process. We organized the machines and people into 8 workcells. We dedicated each cell to an operation to be completed prior to moving to the next operation. This arrangement both increased speed and improved flow and productivity.
It all required engineering expertise at the outset and a carefully choreographed flow of work from the team.
To move the part through mechanical power presses, which ranged from 8-ton to 100-ton in size, we had to think creatively. To save on time and eliminate extra movements, we added conveyors between machines. Also, as is usual at Amanda Manufacturing, we designed and created all of our own tooling.
Observing our workcell design and the finished product, our client was astounded. They acknowledged our rapid pace, combined with consistently superior work, were unlike any they’d experienced to date. Our team had creatively solved a critical issue, and the client was delighted, and relieved, declaring us “the most improved company, start to finish!”
Over the three years of the program, we made 1.4 million parts per year. Our client passed the crash test successfully and a safer truck soon went to market. They continued to use our solution until their next model change redesign eliminated the need for this particular part.
Creative solutions, delivered with efficiency and informed by years of manufacturing experience: that’s what we do at Amanda Manufacturing. Day after day, year after year.