DEARBORN, Mich. – In early August, Ford Motor Company released the Ford Motor Company Engineering CAD and Drafting Standards – (FECDS) V28.1. These standards serve as the global requirement for how to properly draft technical drawings and maintain the consistency of various technical specifications across Ford products. The latest version of the several-hundred-page document is now available for all Ford employees with a CDS ID to review via the C3PNG methods SharePoint site. (See https://team.extsp.ford.com/sites/C3PNGMethods/FECDS/C3PNGMethods.html
Thomas Miller, supervisor, Ford Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance (GDT), explained what this "bible" of technical standards is and why it is so important to the business.
"FECDS is our corporate, global, Ford Motor Company Engineering CAD and Drafting Standards. It contains drawing formats, standards for CAD storage, parts lists, line types, standards for geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GDT), material callouts, trademarks, surface finish and more,” said Miller. "It is important because all Ford employees and all Ford suppliers are expected to adhere to these standards. These standards are intended to protect us when we inadvertently receive components and end-item assemblies that are not up to specification, and they provide legal enforceable requirements for inspections."
According to Miller, these standards are drafted by a global committee of experts from body, chassis, powertrain and other areas of expertise, such as manufacturing, materials and fastener engineering. He said not adhering to the standards can easily result in added cost; for example, if a batch of parts are ordered that do not live up to the specifications outlined within the FECDS, it could take significant time and money to rectify the error. Expand this one example over the entire Ford global operation and the potential risks of not following FECDS add up quickly.
Quality, a primary focus as the company prepares to launch 23 new or refreshed vehicles around the globe in 2014, also can be affected by failure to comply with the FECDS.
An important addition to the FECDS for 2014 includes the new E-6 standard that refers to global homologation. Global homologation is a scientific way of characterizing the country of origin makeup of all the parts in a vehicle – generally these are noted as percentages such as, “This car was 80 percent American-made.” Each country Ford operates within has a unique set of homologation requirements, and the FECDS relays these all in one convenient place.
"There is more to the FECDS than technical drawing rules,” said Miller. "Another standard focuses on exactly how each Ford trademark is incorporated in the various parts within a vehicle. In this instance the guidelines protect against counterfeiting."
Rochelle Courson, GDT and Standards senior and Ford GDT trainer, added, "We don’t expect everyone to memorize each page of the FECDS. However, it is important that everyone be aware of how to access the standards and know who to contact when there are questions."
Miller and Courson agree that getting all parties engaged in current FECDS awareness including purchasing, designers, engineers, manufacturing inspectors, suppliers and Ford STA team members is a huge undertaking, but would help reduce cost and ensure the quality of Ford vehicles.
To that effort, a global FECDS overview training will be launched this year, reaching many of the various functions listed above. This training will include roles and responsibilities relative to FECDS, will highlight several FECDS standards most often misapplied and provide an example case study to stress the importance of adherence to FECDS.
Training in any of the individual standards within the FECDS also is available upon request in most cases. Courson conducts GDT training and ensures her students know where to access FECDS and how GDT fits in as a vital part of these standards, and said she is always willing to answer questions.
"I’d rather have someone call with a question or request a training session than receive a call that an error has occurred that could cost Ford time and money, and potentially damage our quality reputation," said Courson.
The FECDS Committee is comprised of experts throughout the company, and while many of the standards sponsors made significant contributions, this latest release relied on the publishing team of John LeMerise, who is the co-chairman of the committee, and FECDS team members Michael Conlon and Rochelle Courson of Global Engine Engineering.