The Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) automation team recently designed, built and installed a new cambering machine into its Goshen, Ind., axle manufacturing facility. According to a press release, the new machine nearly doubles production speed and significantly increases product precision, replacing an older model that will be retrofitted for the company’s west coast axle operation in Idaho.
“Every day we are focusing on product improvement, and this new machine is another step forward on our journey to improve every plant’s manufacturing processes,” said Vice President of Automation and Manufacturing Jeff Few. “We zeroed in on axles — a key product line for the company — and conducted extensive research before launching this new machine.”
Following lean manufacturing principles, LCI’s Automation team reviewed axle manufacturing processes, interviewed machine operators and identified areas that could be improved. The Automation tool and die team then designed and built a new, efficient machine using state-of-the art technology including servo control and precision drill units to produce more accurate camber. This machine detects tube size and centers each one for improved accuracy.
LCI Director of Automation Mark Howie emphasized the machine’s precision and efficiency. “The new machine has significantly improved axle quality and increased production speed and efficiency. It provides excellent accuracy of the cambering process. The camber tolerance is checked and corrected if needed prior to exiting the machine.”
Few said that this new machine’s success provides the team a strong foundation to plan further production improvements and develop new technology to enhance operating efficiencies. “We are very happy with the results of this new axle cambering machine and look forward to further improvements and automation initiatives.”