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manufacturing technology


left- and right-side rail sets per year for each specifi c automobile model.


Another point of note is the openness of the machinery. That condition results, according to Traylor, from one very important supplier to JAC, one that has been a partner for nearly 20 years. Suhner Automation Division, based in nearby Rome, GA, supplies an assortment of fl ex shaft and direct motor-driven drilling units to JAC, where Traylor’s team of mechanical specialists incorporates them into the company’s internally-designed production equipment. Owing to the fl ex shaft design on many drills, the drive


motors are removed from the cutting area, making accessi- bility much better for operators and maintenance person- nel. This confi guration also improves access to other equipment such as laser trackers and position sensors. “We get upwards of 60-70% more output from our equip- ment since we began using the Suhner solutions for our drilling,” Traylor said.


Competition The previous drills used here were also prone to break- downs and service problems, which caused unacceptable delays in production, especially as the industry transitioned to just-in-time delivery.


“If JAC was going to keep up with JIT, we needed a more


reliable supplier and better ergonomics on our equipment to improve the output,” Traylor said. He contacted Charles Stitcher, the regional marketing manager from Suhner, who presented his company’s solutions in fl ex shaft and related drilling devices. “It was a light bulb moment for our com- pany,” Traylor said, “because we knew we’d found an answer to a lot of our challenges.”


By taking the motors out of the drilling area, the JAC operators could have much freer access to the work product. Meanwhile, maintenance personnel could access a single manifold in many cases to do repairs, routine maintenance or replace components. Most of the machines designed here are dedicated pieces of equipment, used to produce a single rail set for a particular model, then retrofi tted or rebuilt for the next generation, next model year design, or a completely dif- ferent vehicle by Traylor’s team. The fl ex shaft design gave the machine building and maintenance group at JAC a signifi cant advantage and it has continued to benefi t the company in many ways, according to Traylor. “We can now use a more compact work area concept, which saves operator steps,” he said. “Seems like a little thing, but when you do the math and the motion study, it


Extrusions a aiting cutting to blanks at the J C factor


Extrusions awaiting cutting to blanks at the JAC factory.


54 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2017


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