Case Study

REMANUFACTURING VALUE   

 

Here at Numill we service many of the leading automotive groups by remanufacturing, modifying and manufacturing standard and specialist tooling. There is a continuous cycle of damaged tools sent to us for repair from all over the world which we quickly, and expertly, remanufacture to 100% working capability.

Our clients include Renault, Mercedes, Skoda, Seat, Ford and Jaguar Landrover.

We understand that down time in any of these plants is not an option but the specialist tooling is too expensive and time intensive to be able to replace in short enough lead times to avert production issues.

For over 20 years Numill have been a key supplier to Ford. They had to overcome the problem of continuous damage to a set of high value whirling cutters. These complex, multifunctional cutters are used in pairs on the crankshaft production line in Dagenham Engine Plant.

Customer Needs:-

To keep the production line running.

Customer Goals:-

Reduce the costs of buying new tooling and avoid the production stoppages & down time due to long lead times.

Investigation:-

The process of machining metal does mean that tooling is inevitably going to get damaged in its lifetime and due to the nature of how the crankshafts are produced this does happen frequently to the whirling cutters. The biggest problem is that the cranks are originally cast which means there is an uneven amount of stock material that needs machining. This causes the cutter to work harder which in turn wears the tool out sooner than it should. The cutting parts of these tools are carbide inserts sitting in rows and have to be exactly in line with each other. The relationship between each row is vital. These inserts once worn shatter causing the damage to the cutter body (image A). As soon as even one insert has broken then the whole tool starts to underperform and lead to more inserts shattering. So the sooner any damage is spotted the better.

 

Image A

Image A

Proposal:-

Because the casting and machining process couldn’t be changed the only option left was to look into the tool life of the cutters themselves. This led to the development of a process to remanufacture these tools at a fraction of the cost with a short delivery but without compromising quality or performance.

Our recommendation to Ford was for all damaged cutters to be sent to us along with enough new inserts and screws to refit the entire tool. Upon receiving the cutters preparation includes removal of used and broken inserts and screws. Viable items will be re-used.

We then carry out the remanufacturing process (image B). This is finalised by fitting the cutter with supplied inserts and screws and fully inspecting every insert position to guarantee that Ford’s own cutter grinder sections receive a cutter that they can be confident will function at 100% capability.

They then do their own final dimension inspection before releasing it back onto the production line.

 

Image B

Image B

Conclusion:-

After initially conceptualising the remanufacturing process and developing the necessary work holding equipment we were able to offer Ford an invaluable service which has continued for over 20 years.

All damaged cutters are returned fully fitted and inspected within 5 to 10 days (image C & D).

The cost savings by Ford compared to buying new ranges between 90% for a minimal damage cutter to 60% on an excessive damage cutter.

Ford also purchased a spare set of cutters which helps create a cycle to replace the damaged ones with the spare set while the remanufacturing is carried out.

 

Image C

Image C

 

Image D

Image D

Summary:-

The customer’s needs and goals were totally satisfied by Ford choosing to have these expensive, complex cutters remanufactured by Numill.  We have over 45 years of knowledge and expertise in the field to draw on to find solutions for our clients.

The cost saving benefits offered by remanufacturing together with mitigation of potential losses caused by production line stoppages are significant.

Remanufacturing saves money whilst providing the quality demanded.

Our ‘value adding’ service is an integral part of our clients supply chain options.

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