Delcam’s PowerINSPECT boosts productivity at fire truck manufacturer
Pierce builds high-end fire apparatus, including over 1,300 custom fire trucks a year, with most units costing $200,000 or more. In producing fire truck cabs, everything revolves around seven large welding fixtures. Sheet metal components for each cab are fitted into the final assembly fixture manually and rested on stops as they are arc-welded together.
"The most obvious impact of the arms and PowerINSPECT is the ability for us to set up welding fixtures in-house with verifiable proof of the accuracy of the stops in a timely fashion,” Mr. Nennig explained. "Now we are able to work with our design engineers to develop and build fixtures. This is a big boost in getting production started quickly.”
"There are huge time savings in troubleshooting on the shop floor,” added Ryan Lang, a manufacturing engineer at Pierce. "If just one stop in a fixture has moved, we can identify it quickly and see exactly how much and in what direction it moved. Since each fixture has dozens of stops, finding the one that was out-of-position previously might have taken us a week.”
The new inspection facilities are also helping Pierce with redesigns and material substitutions to replace labour-intensive sheet metal work. For example, fabricated steel mounting brackets are being redesigned as iron castings and fan shrouds have been switched from steel fabrications to reaction-injected moulded plastic.
"We need to do first-article inspections as new parts come in from suppliers. Getting those done quickly and accurately is the key to production efficiency. This is accomplished very effectively with the portable CMMs and PowerINSPECT,” said Mr. Nettig. "Data from the first-article inspections allow us to apply continuous product improvement methods to our castings and composite part innovations. Every part can be accurately scrutinized and the results compared over time.”
"When we bought the first Romer CimCore arm, we considered the competition, too,” Nennig said. "PowerINSPECT was the big selling point, the shining star of the system. It is a much more powerful organisational tool for handling geometry and groups of measurements. We need to gather measurements in large groups, all at once, when we troubleshoot or do first-article inspections,” he explained. "Then we break the groups of data apart to look for root causes of problems and process-improvement opportunities. We could not do that with any other software.”