DLA manufacturing process and assembly system
A tier 1 supplier and The Diemasters' customer for over 15 years approached us to design and build an all-encompassing system to stamp, procure components and manufacture various detent lever assemblies which would be used in GM’s and Ford’s latest transmissions. The unique challenge was presented to us in early 2004, and not only included requirements for a stable and repeatable process, but the necessity to leapfrog any existing efforts to produce similar parts in regards to quality and cost standpoints.
The assembly would have to leave The Diemasters in a ready state for assembly into transmission after a short stop at the OEM customer to add the plastic molded component. The parts would have to travel from The Diemasters to the middle of Mexico and back to Michigan for final transmission assembly without incurring any damage, rust or dimensional variations.
Based on prior experience and after extensive review of OEM product requirement, The Diemasters team designed and built the equipment in-house, verifying every step of the stamping, assembly, wash and rust protection processes. The assembly system incorporates various methods of verifying the presence and validity of prior operations, such as LVDT’s, proximity, force and speed sensors as well as camera based inspection system integrated with the central PLC and networked PC’s. The finished product positional tolerances are assured in part by an assembly system which employs a state of the art indexing ring with angular accuracy of ±15 arc seconds. Predictive maintenance schedule allows for realistic production output and repeatable quality results.
The wash/rust protection system was also designed and built in-house, employing a proprietary water deionizing device which replenishes the wash/rinse tanks as needed. The system uses a non-solvent pH neutral corrosion inhibitor which offers highly effective corrosion protection without leaving any residual coating. This enables the direct assembly of parts into a transmission without additional cleaning. Constant monitoring and charting of TDS, RP percentage, spray orientation and drying temperature assures that parts are processed as intended.