Using 3D to deliver a new view of manufacturing

Chrysler expands use of technology to help deliver products faster, better.


Chrysler Group LLC is using the world of 3D to change the way it looks at planning for future products and implements World Class Manufacturing (WCM) before a single machine is built or installed.

During a speech at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., on Aug. 6, 2012, Chrysler Group vice president Brian Harlow said that the company has brought 3D into its upfront processes in order to prepare for the launch of two important new transmissions in Kokomo, Ind., – the eight-speed rear-wheel drive and nine-speed front-wheel drive – as well as other new powertrain programs.

"We knew we needed a new way of working in order to get our plants in Kokomo ready at an accelerated pace," said Harlow. "By using 3D technology, we are in effect injecting the principles of WCM from the very beginning of our planning for production startups such as the ones in Kokomo."

The goal of WCM is to continuously improve performance in order to reach the objective of zero waste, which includes zero accidents, zero breakdowns, zero waste of motion and zero inventories.

Chrysler Group is utilizing a three-dimensional modeling system specifically for powertrain manufacturing to help everyone see the shop floor as it really is and not how one might imagine it is.

"We live in three dimensions, not two, so with a two dimensional drawing, you had to imagine the third dimension," said Harlow. "Engineers have good imaginations, but those imaginations don't all work the same way. If you have 10 engineers looking at a 2D drawing, they will all see it a little differently."

By turning the view, Harlow said that engineers can see the manufacturing environment, including equipment, materials and operators, as it really is. In this way, issues that may delay a program or cost money to fix are addressed even before the first piece of equipment arrives at the plant.

"Three-dimensional modeling allows us to make our actual investments as late as possible in the launch process," said Harlow. "The goal is to make the launch process as vertical as possible because this shortens the time it takes to recover our investment."

The software also has the capability of showing an exploded view of a machine. By de-contenting the machine, an operator can see all of the nuts and bolts, making it easier to understand how it goes together, maintain and repair.

"Animation is another critical aspect of the 3D programming," said Harlow. "It allows us to validate cycle times and to discover system-related issues even before the machinery is made.

"If there is a situation anywhere that compromises production, we can identify it up front in the process, something we ordinarily wouldn't know until the first day of production," continued Harlow. "Now we can be proactive. We can change cycle times by moving content or by making changes with the machine tool builder."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.