LIMA, Ohio - It’s the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” that can create chaos in the manufacturing industry where just one missed quality check can spell disaster. Fortunately, Lima Engine Plant’s (LEP) latest employee of the month, Mike Rager, isn’t about to let that happen.
Rager’s normal inspection for water pump porosity was anything but normal on Jan. 9 when he noticed a “non clean-up” condition. The block in question was rejected and the foundry representative and area process engineer further reviewed the issue.
A determination was then made that the ZZ locator, which is used to position the center of the block for machining, was not machined in the proper position by the cuber.
“If Mike hadn’t caught it, the block would have gone through being machined as normal,” said Senior Process Coach Alex Tellez, who nominated Rager for the recognition. “The piston bores have seal sleeves and if offset that piston bore sleeve to where it was very thin-walled on one side and thick on the other. If that gets through, it probably would have caused a failure at 40,000 to 50,000 miles, or it may have just heated the engine up right away.”
After Rager discovered the defect, the block supplier was contacted and a list of 101 potential defective blocks were loaded into the block line. Additionally, a global quarantine was issued to locate all suspects blocks, some of which had already been through assembly and shipped to B&A. Six of the motors had already been placed in vehicles.
“Quality and monetarily, we would have had to replace all those motors and of course customer satisfaction was an issue,” Tellez said, adding “Nobody wants to be out in the middle of the road and have their engine blow up and be stuck out there.”
LEP Plant Manager Mike Felix thanked Rager for his attention to detail and focus on building quality engines.
“This was a major concern for us and a great catch by Mike,” Felix said, adding “had he not caught this, we could have been looking at multiple engine failures in the hands of our customers, so it truly is a great job.”