Improving efficiency with automation
Posted on 27 Jun 2013 and read 1989 times
Over the last three years, a team of engineers and apprentices at Schaeffler UK’s manufacturing plant in Llanelli has implemented a range of automation systems.
In addition to improving the efficiency of individual machines and complete production lines, these systems have reduced the amount of manual handling, removed bottlenecks and cut throughput times. Set up in 2010, the three-man team has a blend of engineering skills and a total of 57 years of experience at Llanelli to help it tackle every type of automation project. It also receives help from a pool of apprentices.
The projects vary in size and duration. Typically arising from Continuous Improvement or Kaizen initiatives, they include the design and implementation of new conveyor systems, part-transfer systems and feed-in systems for various types of machinery — including CNC machines, heat-treatment furnaces, presses and washing stations.
Around 90% of the components used are designed and manufactured in-house at Llanelli, including linear guides and shafts, fasteners, bearings, fixing and mounting systems, and machine support frameworks.
Team leader Darran Williams says: “The automation projects team requires many different skills: electrical, mechanical, hydraulics and pneumatics, fabrication, machining, welding and tool-making. We also need people who can look at a problem and find the most appropriate solution.”