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Measured production introduced by DEA.

The new Turin assembly factory of DEA, has been developed as an integrated manufacturing unit to capitalize on the product engineering techniques that were part of the strict design brief when the latest generation Swift, Gamma and Omega coordinate measuring machines (CMM) were introduced.

The new plant, known as "Factory 4", cost some $5.1 million and compromises some 65,000 sq ft floor area of which more than half is dedicated to the continuous "flow-line" production for the low-cost Swift and mid-range Gamma, CMMs. The remaining area is allocated to the build of large gantry-type measuring machines, the bridge-type Omega and measuring robots.

Included in the advanced specification plant are two climatized certification rooms of 6,000 and 5,000 sq ft. Here, electronic connections, dynamic testing, software compensation and testing to CMMA and B89 specifications is carried out. These rooms are rigidly controlled to [+ or -] 0.5 [degrees] C and to a humidity of [+ or -] 5 per cent.

The new facility can build more than 500 Swift CMMs a year and mixes volume production techniques with small batch production. To contrive the throughput, DEA commissioned one of Europe's top flight industrial consultants, Telos, to form a simultaneous engineering group involving production, purchase and material management engineers from DEA.

The Swift and Gamma CMMs are built using Just-in-Time techniques and the Japanese-style Kanban (zero inventory) system for short term supplies which are mixed with large and special machines built on an order only basis. Some 25 suppliers including IBM, Digital, Renishaw and Heidenhain are involved under the strict control of MRP11 American software. Indeed, at the factory inauguration, praise was bestowed on the plant by a senior quality manager of Japan's motor giant Toyota--the instigator of the original Kanban philosophy.

Meanwhile, the reorganization is paying off. Already cycle times for CMM production are down by up to a third, allowing a Swift to be despatched within five days of order and its assembly time slashed by half to just 24 hours.

With the adoption of a Total Quality concept, based on ISO 9000, all production data and final certification of DEA CMMs is fed by Ethernet network to the Italian headquarters at Moncalieri. Here, the data is combined with information from subsidiaries on machine performance, field service data, environmental and application details of the installation to provide a "Real-Time" understanding of what customers require and to monitor the on-going performance of DEA equipment.

Once collated in the central processor, statistical process control techniques are applied and the generated data made available to marketing, research and development and service. When problems occur, a "Real-Time" analysis and component and supplier can be made and costs tracked in providing the solution. In addition, major customers are being invited, on a regular basis, to comment on practical aspects of DEA's CMMs in the field based on their experiences.

Meanwhile, a Task Force has been mobilized to further increase build productivity and quality. It has been charged to study and develop production techniques that, in the longer term, will ensure customers and users of DEA CMMs have continual improvements in reliability, machine performance and a cost-effective measuring solution.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Digital Electronic Automation Inc.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Words:524
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