The Proving Factory's recently opened assembly facility in Coventry will use a flexible manufacturing cell supplied by MiniTec UK Limited. The £22 million Proving Factory provides process development and "˜proving volume' production of leading-edge low-carbon technology automotive components and systems.
With major partners across the automotive industry, The Proving Factory takes innovative products and design ideas from small high-tech British companies and university department technology transfer enterprises, and develops them for large-volume production for global vehicle manufacturers and tier one suppliers.
The 6000 m2 assembly facility is designed for flexibility with nine new products nearing the end of the development stage and two due to start production in 2015. The Proving Factory aims to manufacture 1000-20,000 units annually, representing up to 20 products.
With its flexibility and scalability, MiniTec's Profile System allows The Proving Factory to easily modify and fine tune the set-up in line with their own aims to develop the best assembly and test procedures for producing competitive high-quality products.
Working closely with The Proving Factory team, MiniTec designed and supplied the majority of the equipment for the assembly operations and end-of-line tests which includes several workbenches with Kanban racks and component storage. The design brief included the requirement to handle products from 30 to 300kg and defined a standard for tools and equipment storage - with re-configurability a prime consideration - to adapt the large variety of products that will be assembled using the cell.
MiniTec supplied the complete system within 5 weeks from receipt of order and further components or sub-assemblies are available on very short lead times. Karl Fawdry, Manufacturing Engineer at The Proving Factory says: "We were able to build and configure the first cell within 4 hours of delivery to the Coventry site. MiniTec's support has been invaluable in developing our need for flexible and reconfigurable assembly cells."
Redesign and reconfiguration is made straightforward using MiniTec's free-of-charge iCAD design software that is integrated with the customer's preferred software system. iCAD includes interfaces with all common CAD packages and is also available for standalone design and development as an on-line tool with no CAD knowledge required. MiniTec's Profile System also boasts the fastest assembly/re-assembly time for all major framing systems thanks to its Powerlock fastener - a single operation fixing requiring just an Allen key and no pre-drilling of the cut-to-length profile.
In addition to workbenches, Kanban and component storage systems, MiniTec's modular aluminium profile-based machine building system includes thousands of components that combine for highly efficient machine frames with control system and motion components for electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic automation. MiniTec can provide separate components for customer assembly, build to customer requirements in-house or on-site. To learn more about flexible manufacturing cells, go to www.minitec.co.uk.