Creating a Safe Environment for Our Automotive Client
- May 17, 2021
- Posted by: Mike Kramer
Our client for this project is an award-winning automotive manufacturer.
While automobile manufacturing has become increasingly automated as technology continues to evolve, human operators are still very much a valued necessity. Ensuring a safe work environment for these workers is essential.
In our clients’ paint shop, part of the manufacturing process involves spraying an expanding foam into the hollow cavities of the vehicle body frame. The expanding foam migrated into other areas of the vehicle body where components needed to be installed, creating issues as it plugged those areas up.
A section of the conveyor in this complex area of automation – which was not previously considered safe for operators – needed significant modification and repurposing so that human operators could work there safely and regularly. They also needed safe access to the vehicle so that they could install a foam migration blocking device. To add to this challenge, the modifications needed to be completed in a short amount of time and in specific timeframes to keep from disrupting the assembly schedule.
For every project the CSI team engages in, we first approach with an analytical view. A primary assessment of the situation was carried out by our Electrical Controls Engineering team, allowing us to confirm the issues that the client was experiencing and identify areas of opportunity for improvement and modifications.
Our engineering team built a solution in which new electrical hardware was required, and modifications to the existing systems wiring and PLC programs that control the area were needed as well.
Post engineering, the CSI team worked around the clock – and opposite of the client’s production schedule – to develop an intermittent testing and implementation plan.
For this project, we:
- Collaborated on the modifications required.
- Provided engineering and modifications to the existing electrical controls system.
- Researched to confirm the appropriate safety components required, including safety mats, light curtains, run stops, Estops, and line stops.
- Re-issued the electrical schematics to plant specifications using ePLAN.
- Organized a BOM and supplied all the required new sensors and electrical control materials.
- Collaborated with our client to coordinate scheduling of skilled labour for implementation changes to ensure that regularly scheduled production would not be impacted by our work.
- Reprogrammed VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives).
- Engineered and implemented safety programming code, HMI modifications, and PLC code.
- Provided standby support during the implementation of the new modifications into regular production.
The paint shop conveyor area has been successfully modified without impact to regularly scheduled vehicle production, and human operators now have a safe space to work alongside of the automated equipment and moving vehicle conveyor. A foam migration blocking device has been installed, saving vehicles from being damaged and reducing the amount of manual clean up caused by the migrating expansion of foam.
Our client, a major automotive manufacturer, was extremely pleased that CSI excelled in the full range of electrical controls engineering skills required for these modifications and updates, especially considering the necessary timing and scheduling restraints.
“Thank you for the work over the past few weeks. We would not have been able to complete the project without your help.”
For over 20 years, CSI has provided expert engineering services as a Control Systems Integrator in both Canada and the United States. Our automation and electrical system designs reach throughout industries and across the world. With experienced and knowledgeable engineers and skilled workers, we are a key component in our customers’ automated control solutions.
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