GM Ypsilanti begins 6-speed production.
The Ypsilanti facility utilizes CNC machining, instead of a transfer line, with the machines arranged in a cell format. The cell design helps to integrate the piece flow process, boosting efficiency. The result will be a reduction in man-hours per transmission to 3.3 hours per unit, down dramatically from the traditional 4 to 4.5-hour level. "Here we have a team operating the cell and the person goes from machine to machine as the part goes around the cell. It is single-piece flow," says Kingsley Wooten, plant manager at the Ypsilanti facility. There are a total of three business teams that fabricate and sub-assemble the transmission component (gears and shafts, prismatic, and assembly). The sub-assemblies are integrated into the transmission case on the main line to produce the finished transmission. All of the material in the plant is delivered to the teams at the stations on a just-in-time basis via automated guided vehicles. All transmissions are hot-tested for up to four minutes, running through all the gears at varying rpm levels.
The new transmission technology should help GM achieve its goal of having more than three million 6-speeds on the market by 2010. But the 6L80 won't be found only under the hood of GM products. Sears says BMW has already signed up to take the 6-speed for a future product, with other OEMs ready to ante up as well. GM has been providing transmissions to more than 250 OEMs around the world, including BMW and Volvo.--KMK
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|Title Annotation:||General Motor|
|Publication:||Automotive Design & Production|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2005|
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