FiRAC, a company of Groupe SNEF, is a leading firm that specializes in the design and integration of robotics and automation, specifically in streamlining industrial equipment and processes with intelligent technical solutions. It often relies on Visual Components simulation technology to help show its clients just how much more efficient it can take its processes should it adopt a greater level of automation. This was the case with one of their projects with PSA Group, which produces automobiles of renowned global brands including Peugeot and Citroen. The firm was looking for a way to improve quality but keep its cycle times consistent with a specific screw tightening task on the assembly line. Utilizing Visual Components’ production simulation technology, FiRAC was able to provide an efficient solution that struck the perfect balance between cost and productivity. Here’s a closer look at how:
About the Project
In automotive manufacturing, production times are vital and so is the quality. In this case, the PSA Group’s automotive manufacturing plant in Sochaux, France, was looking to optimize front-wheel screw tightening to accelerate cycle times and improve the production quality. FiRAC utilized Visual Components simulation technology to demonstrate how the process could be automated. Screw tightening at the plant was previously being performed manually, so in addition to creating an automated solution, cycle times had to remain fast and consistent to ensure overall productivity goals were met.
Specifically, this sub-assembly requires five screws to be tightened for the vehicle’s front wheels, four of the screws (M6-8 Nm) which are on the front side and one (M8-20 Nm) on the backside of the panel. This assembly was previously performed by a worker across four shifts, however, this individual’s skill level largely dictated performance cycle times, which varied from 30 to 60 seconds. The inconsistency of this task often made it challenging to stay in line with the main assembly.
“Any second lost during this process means a loss of productivity in the mainline considering a car is produced about every 60 seconds,” says Corentin Monnot, Project Manager at FiRAC.