OAKVILLE - The Variability Reduction Team (VRT) in Paint at Oakville Assembly has been hard at work over the past few months with an aggressive goal for improvements in paint quality. Oakville Assembly’s goal is to set the Ford standards for paint quality.
Jim Tetreault, VP of Manufacturing, Ford Motor Company, challenged paint teams in all North American plants to improve paint appearance. Oakville did not shy away from that challenge.
The Paint Application Team, led by Luan Quach, automation launch manager and master black belt, has successfully implemented changes to the standard paint application techniques to improve quality for all vehicles. The team began by outlining the paint variation on a sample of vehicle hoods and found opportunities for improvement that will help the Company reach its goal of becoming best in class for luxury vehicles.
Lincoln MKX hood samples were used during trials to test quality output as Luan and his team began recalibrating the paint spray robots. A uniform grid of 16 zones with 192 points of measurement was laid out on the hood so that detailed and accurate quality data could be measured. The standard requirement until now has been only fifteen points of measurement on each hood. The increased data collected by the team provided ample information to create meaningful statistical analysis. The information analysis showed a distinct and definite correlation between applicator behavior and the 16 measured zones.
Several subsequent trials were designed using the results data to target specific zones and points of measurement. To achieve the improvements that Luan and his team strive for on the Lincoln line, they have outlined areas of opportunity for an improved decision making process. Luan believes that with the improvements they have made for collecting data, they are well on their way!
Luan’s team used the results to systematically optimize the paint application process. The VRT made several adjustments to the process. Adjustments were made to the distance of the overhead position from the hood, to account for hood contouring, as well as oscillation speeds, to keep the profile more consistent. Along with quality improvements, the enhancements will also translate into cost reduction, as less paint and energy will be required to run the paint equipment.
“Paint appearance wave scan measured in ‘CF’ (Combined Ford Value) has improved significantly and is now approaching world class quality,” says Luan. “Not only that, the actual visual interpretation of the paint finish is noticeably more consistent, more uniform, smoother and shinier. A further benefit is that the production process is ‘more capable,’ and therefore less prone to production variations.”
Indeed, the most impressive aspect of the VRT’s progress is that all the improvements were made using current technology at this plant. The team is setting new standards for Lincoln paint appearance at Oakville Assembly, and is making great strides in quality, that can be passed along to other facilities for peer to peer learning and improvement.