Case Study 008 - Ford Giddings

FORD MOTOR CO. required a cost-saving system for retaining and collecting oils which would otherwise be lost to the manufacturing process.
Ford Motor Company through Giddings & Lewis, was building a new transmission manufacturing line to include multi-station assembly and "hot" testing of transmissions. As part of the proposed process, there were several areas where transmission oils would be used for testing and final assembly. There was also and area set aside for tear-down of transmissions that are evaluated tor manufacturing standards as well as trouble shooting for faults detected in the "hot" test stands. The overall manufacturing process required a means for retaining and collecting oils which would otherwise be lost to the manufacturing process. It walk also essential that any final oils retained within the lower transmission carrier pallets be removed prior to the pallet and transmission assembly passing through the final stage washer before shipment to the final car assembly facilities.
The Problem
The cost of transmission oils provides a considerable expense to the plant. A cost savings could be generated with the recovery of these oils for re-use. In addition, oils which spill onto work area floors mandate the use of non-skid type flooring which is expensive and likewise difficult to maintain. The final area where workers must have access to then requires additional house-keeping and also provides an area of exposure to workers who may be injured as a result of a fall attributed to the oils in the area. Finally, oils which are lost in the final stage washers require further waste-water treatment before the treated waters can be returned to the normal city water waste stream, also at an expense as well at a risk for non-compliance. Transmission manufacturing lines normally run at high production rates leaving very little time while the pallet is locked in-station for the collection of residual or draining oils. Oil recovery therefore must be fast as well as efficient over a wide area. Pumps cannot cover the thin film build and wide area of oil coverage within the 18- 20 second in-station cycle time available. Any automation being developed which carries the vacuum head into proper orientation likewise diminishes the functionally available vacuum cycle time. The diversity of applications as well as the different locations of each of the required processes mandated multiple collection capabilities and specific tooling for each.
TECH-TRANS was contracted to provide (4) four automated systems for the in-line / at station collection of the transmission oils. Working in conjunction with Giddings & Lewis as the prime contractor, TECH-TRANS provided the stand alone vacuum collection receptacles which are considerably robust with highly efficient high volume oil collection capabilities. In addition to the vacuum generation process, these stand alone units were sized to each specific applications vacuum flow and oil collection requirements. Our proprietary air flow and fluid separation process was developed and placed inside each main receptacle for the separation of the recovered oils from the main air streams. Within each system provided, there is also an automated dump sequence which allows the vacuum generator to continue collecting oils while at the same time capable of discharging oils previously collected. This way, the vacuum collection process continues un-interrupted. TECH-TRANS also supplied the final “contact” tooling which engages the pallet of area where oils collect for the optimized high speed recovery of these oils. Each head was prototyped and then cast as a final tool with mating flanges which allowed attachment as end of arm tooling to the automation provided at each station.