In preparation for the introduction of the new Land Rover Freelander at Halewood, Jaguar decided to automate a series of Jaguar X-Type manual operations, thereby freeing labour to work on the new production lines.
Crown were awarded the contracts for the first two of the new cells. The contract involved detailed planning, as a specific requirement from Jaguar was that the changeover should take place with no disruption to the X-Type Production lines. In preparation for the changeover of the first cell, new control panels and robots were installed whilst the manual fixtures were still in operation. Then, over a weekend the manual fixtures were disconnected and moved into their new position. Access to all spotwelds was checked and the fixtures were moved back to the manual locations. It appeared that all weld spots could be accessed and over the following week final preparations were made for a permanent move the following weekend. The move took place with no unforeseen difficulties and the cell started producing quality panels on the Monday morning. The new cell cycle time was much lower than anticipated, which enabled Jaguar to incorporate another manual operation into the cell resulting in a further saving in head count.
The second cell proved more problematical in that it was impossible to access the spot welds. Our new mechanical design team looked at the problem and decided to design a frame to hold the fixture upside down.
The solution was presented to Jaguar and the go-ahead was given. Having been given the go-ahead the frame was manufactured and installed, the manual fixtures moved across and mounted, the control system installed and commissioned and the robots programmed – all in the space of five days.. The new cell is in full Production with a head count saving of three men. The success of these two projects has led to on ongoing programme of cell automation, resulting in substantial efficiency improvements to the X400 Bodyshop.