EWAB Flow Technology
EWAB Flow Technology Assembly Lines allows any type of layout configurations from long and narrow loops to flexible continuous flow systems with routing capability.
Henry Ford was not far off.
One of the first assembly lines for mass production was designed and built by Ford Motor Company around 1913 and was based on a continuous process flow where interchangeable parts were brought to the line and put together in a series of well identified tasks in order to make up a complete T-Ford.
The work content in each station was designed to be the same as the market demand (Takt time) in order to be able to meet delivery request. The Takt time of the T-Ford was eventually reduced down to 1 hour and 33 minutes and in 1920 Ford produced more than 1 million cars.
The biggest issue was however the ability to produce interchangeable parts and therefore manufacturing tolerance's and quality standards became a necessity and a top priority. The invention of gauging blocks or what became known as "Jo-blocks" by the Swedish engineer C E Johanssons became the solution.
Assembly systems based on slow moving conveyor systems and manual assembly continued to look more or less the same during the following 50 years.
Flexible automated assembly became rigid and inflexible.
In the middle 1970s, when assembly automation equipment, AGVs and electric robots became available, assembly lines started to migrate towards more an more automation and less and less manual assembly.
This development continued throughout the 80s when variations in the final product was low, customer demand was high and the expected product life was measured in 15-20 years. The majority of these systems were built as "push" systems since there was little concern about what customers really wanted.
Towards the end of the 90s, it started to become obvious to the automotive industry that automated assembly lines for engines and gearboxes was going to be increasingly difficult.
The number of variations was increasing exponentially, quality and performance demands were increasing, available development time was getting shorter and product life cycles was reduced.
Automated assembly equipment tends to be dedicated due to extreme precision requirements and they take a long time to design, build, install and commission. Time that is no longer available
In many other industries, such as appliance, which had short product life cycles, many product variations and medium size volumes, assembly lines continued to be rather low tech and involved a lot of manual assembly as it was too time consuming and too expensive to automate.
Manual assembly and automated flow is the most flexible.
Today, many assembly lines have migrated towards Fords original concept where the majority of the assembly work is manual due to the fact that only humans are flexible enough to be able to handle all the variations required.
Today, assembly lines are normally built for a great variety of products which are produced according to pull principles rather than push and they are extremely difficult to automate.
EWAB Flow Technology assembly lines for gearboxes, cylinder heads, engines, rear axles, dash boards, large control cabinets, etc is based on a family of accumulating pallet/carrier conveyor systems which can handle any size or shape of product from 0-1500kg.
Ergonomics, safety, accessibility, accuracy and product traceability are important elements, as well as100% availability of the conveying equipment.
Assembly lines based on EWAB Flow Technology are designed for lean manufacturing as they have one piece flow and kanban built into the system.
The heavier carrier systems can handle many different types of products in a random pattern while the pallet systems are mainly used for smaller and lighter product which are made in higher volumes.
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