C & D Zodiac nearly tripled its production rate by converting its airline passenger seat assembly line from batch and queue to continuous flow manufacturing using a series of assembly stations constructed of Rexroth aluminum structural framing.
C & D Zodiac, Inc. of Ontario, California, (www.cdaero.com) designs and manufactures multiple components for commercial aircraft cabin interiors. The company recently decided to convert its production line from a batch and queue system to a one-piece, continuous flow line. C & D now uses a series of assembly station carts constructed entirely of aluminum structural framing components and systems supplied by the Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies group of the Bosch Rexroth Corporation. Now, a finished chair ranging in price from $1,000 to $3,200 comes off the assembly line every 18 minutes in the box and ready to be shipped, representing a 196 percent increase compared to prior production rates.
According to Ryan Newham, C & D Zodiac industrial engineer, the batch and queue system repeatedly left the production line with a hundred or more seats on the production floor in various stages of construction, which caused several problems.
"All of the work-in-progress seats occupied limited floor space and were not producing any profit," explained Newham. "And, while the seats waited for a next step or parts, they were susceptible to damage as workers and equipment were forced to move around them." In addition, noted Newham, the seats were only partially completed, which saddled C & D with the burden of trying to track their various stages of completion and made it difficult to manage timely inspections and quality control.
Since conversion to the continuous flow line using the aluminum framing carts, C & D now has only eight or nine work-in-progress chairs that are all actually being worked on, instead of just waiting for the next step that might be a day away.
"When we decided to convert the line from batch and queue to continuous flow, we chose Rexroth aluminum framing because of its ease of construction, its vast flexibility, and its fit and finish," said Newham. "There is no welding or painting involved, so it greatly simplifies and speeds up construction to keep production moving." Newham also noted the appeal of the aluminum framing's finished, durable, anodized coating, which gives C & D a congruent, professional look throughout the facility.
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Bosch Rexroth AG, part of the Bosch Group, achieved sales of approximately $6.2 billion (4.9 billion Euro) in 2006 with over 29,800 employees. Under the brand name of Rexroth the company offers all drive and control technologies, from mechanics, hydraulics and pneumatics to electronics and associated service. Over 500,000 customers worldwide utilize Rexroth's unique technological know-how to implement their innovative and future-oriented systems and machine concepts. The global player, represented in over 80 countries, is an extensive supplier of components and systems for industrial and factory automation and mobile applications. Visit www.boschrexroth-us.com for more information.
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