Term Paper: Manufacturing Vehicle's Assembly Process (Ford

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[. . .] Specific colors during the surfacer process are applied to the bodies in order to improve the final color coat as well for additional protection. Also, to improve transfer efficiency of the paint the surfacer is applied to all visible inside and out surfaces, with electrostatic equipment. The kind of paint used has a high solids content that also improves resistance to stone chips. Thus, following this process the car body is one again baked in an oven.

Both manual application and automatic spray machines are than applied to the final color coat application. In order to further prepare the car for painting any flaws it is first removed by light sanding., while any form of dust is removed by compressed air firstly and then by cleaning the body with a sticky cloth.

Now the body as a final cleaning process passes through a "feather duster machine," which is similar to a car wash, but this is with sets of feathers mounted on rollers that rub gently against the car and remove all traces of dust. The color coat paint is water-based, that uses an emulsion of micro gels, dispersed in an aqueous solution while infrared used is to force the water off within the paint film.

The body is given then clear coat that gives it a uniform gloss by means of a special grade of paint called 2K. This acts as a catalyst to cure the paint and to minimize generally solvent emissions. A further heat treatment is then given that follows the clear coat.

After the main color has been painted, the contrast facility is used by a simple robotic system to apply the tone, as specified by the customer to Ford Mustang body shells.

As the final stage is near the cavity wax is applied in the corrosion resistance process to all hollow sections where water could collect. Then the body shell is heated in order to make the wax fluid and then rocked back and forth to make sure that the wax diffuses all critical areas.

Under special, intense lighting conditions, complete paint process stringent quality standards are imposed and inspected. Each body shell location is known through a camera tracking system that reads the car's individual barcode and also allows orders to be changed and production sequences to be altered in order to give maximum manufacturing flexibility. It takes ten hours to complete the process of protection and painting the body shell.

3. Final Assembly

The painted bodies are now received in a sequencing store above the final assembly lines in which the first stage removes the doors that then pass along their own sub-assembly line at mezzanine floor height to be trimmed.

The body is lowered to the main hall itself and onto individual wooden skillets that makes the moving assembly line and stay with the car till the wheels are fitted towards the end of the production process. During the assembly operations, the skillets give a wide working area around the car while the associates move with the car.

In order to eliminate the need for the traditional vehicle history card and provide a direct electronic link with the production control system the car's barcode is read by the KISS quality and information system at every assembly stage. Also, every car is fitted with a transponder that makes certain the instant identification and tracking at any assembly station.

3.1. Automated battery assembly

The beginning of "all electric" power tools is a first for vehicle assembly in Europe rather than being conventional compressed air tools. These tools are either powered by direct current or are portable, battery-powered. These are much more accurate in applying the right level of torque in a range of assembly tasks.

3.2. "Wedding" of body and Powertrain

An added benefit is that they are linked into the KISS system that supervise their performance by means of a controller station which is provided at each of the tools and allows a continuously updated history of the assembly of each car while at the same time maintains the stringent quality standards at every assembly stage as part of the "zero-fault" quality program.

Special attention throughout the assembly process is given to the ease of handling parts along with the use of assistors in tasks; such as; exhaust system sunroof and battery installation. Optimum working conditions is provided due to the height of the car on the assembly line for associates and further to give optimum working conditions for one assembly sequence the car is rotated through 90 degrees on a swivel mounting at waist height.

In a three stage process the glass fixing is done in an advanced and fully automated glazing cell for side windows and front and rear screens. One of the main features of the interior is the highly individual cockpit/facia design. This composite component that includes complete facia with steering wheel, heater and wiring harness, instruments and controls, steering column all assembled as a single unit into the car. From the supplier, Magna, the cockpit arrives directly to the suitable point on the assembly line, which does not involve any manual handling between dispatch from the factory at Redditch and fitment. The supplier is given six hours notice of the required cockpit requirement and delivers to the trackside on basis of just in time.

3.3. Powertrain Assembly

One of the major sub-assembly areas is handed over to powertrain assembly. Here the engines are "dressed" according to requirements and clutch, gearbox, front and rear suspension assembly on four lines takes place. Simultaneously, the whole powertrain unit is assembled into the car automatically.

An additional innovation is an automated tyre sequence check, which is based on an optical system. It reads the inscription on tyres for each car to ascertain that right tyres in the right sequence are provided onto the conveyor.

Moreover, the final assembly process comprise complete test procedures with electrical systems testing; water test as well as parts quality control along with the final finish line with a "buy-off" point where the finished car passes from the manufacturing part to the sales organization.

4. Delivery

The Ford Mustang supply lines are international, while forty percent of the added value of all parts is from 100 country-based suppliers. Other components come from throughout Europe where the engines are being supplied through joint-venture programs.

It is important for the organization of parts supplies to support production in order to have efficient and cost-effective manufacturing and whenever needed and possible, Just in Time supply strategies are executed.

The body panels primarily from other Mustang plants of the Ford Group are directly handed over to the Body Shop facility. Likewise, engines are directly shipped to the assembly area in especially designed containers, as done in the cockpit. In addition to this, one company carry out some of the smallest and most different parts of the various fasteners, clips etc. along with the coordination and management of 62 suppliers.

The responsibility of the Integrated Logistics Centre (ILC) is to make sure that smooth and efficient flow of production material is done without creating costly buffer stocks as this is one of the key elements. It is a 20,000 square meter warehouse, which is directly connected to the assembly area by two tunnels through which electric tow trains feed the production lines.

The functions of ILC are first to act as a receiving and sequencing facility and second to give space for Just in Time key suppliers to carry out late configuration work to closest possible production.

The warehouse building has been renewed internally completely with a new racking system that upgrades to cope with the high volumes of Mustang production. There are almost 33 aisles, with five-storey storage that provides a total of 9,100 pallet locations. Very narrow aisle trucks that gather up components in order to make tow trains for transfer to the assembly areas service these aisles.

Lastly, the late-configuration areas are looked after by the suppliers themselves and include Magna called bumpers; Delphi as struts and dampers; Antolin as headliners and Draexlmaier named as electrical harnesses. All these components are organized in line with build requirements just few hours before they are needed at trackside and delivered in sequence.

Works Cited

Ford Motor… [END OF PREVIEW]

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