Getrag AWD in Köping (now GKN Driveline) produces angular gears and drive components for cars in the premium segment. For a subcontractor in the highly competitive automotive industry, quality and delivery precision are two crucial success factors.
Getrag AWD has seen an increase of product variants which has negatively affected the balance of the production lines. Ironically, continuous improvement efforts have also contributed to increase the balance losses. The problem was evident to everybody involved, but neither was the extent of the losses known, nor how the lines should be balanced to be optimal.
With this background, a project was launched and AviX was used to balance four of the assembly lines.
SAVINGS OF 5-6 MILLIONS SEK (about 500-600k€)!
A group of method engineers started to create standard times for one of the lines and found that there was 38% of unused time. Based on the current situation a proposal involving a significant rebalancing and method- & layout improvements was made. "The active involvement of the operators has been very important, not least to ensure that no details and opportunities were overlooked", says Ove Berglund - Method Engineer.
The projects for the other two lines are in full swing and the forecast is a further saving of 2-3 million sek per year. "We have no reason to doubt it. So far, the simulations made in AviX proved to be very close to the final outcome", says Ove Berglund. His colleague, Per-Olof Persson, agrees.
Getrag has, through the projects, also laid foundations for adapting the capacity of the assembly lines to an expected increase in demand. "Besides that we now use the resources effectively, we also have the basis for getting started with standardized work. Everyone now knows what is required to maintain the tact of the lines", says Lean Coordinator Ekrem Güclü.
Former head of the method engineers, Paul Söderlund, early realized the importance of having an accurate time-base. "We use times for much more than we first could think of”, Paul said as he showed his mindmap-like analysis of how the production times affect most of the company’s functions.Therefore AviX is a suitable tool for time studies and line balancing.
ACTIVELY INVOLVED OPERATORS
The clarity in AviX and the superb ability to communicate analysis results, problems and solutions has made it easier for the operators to be more involved in the engineers work, still with minimal disruption in the production. In the beginning some of the operators did not like to be filmed and Per-Olof Persson emphasizes the importance of having an open dialogue with employees and union representatives. From the operators perspective it is positive that the problems, in particularly ergonomic, have been remedied through joint efforts.