ARJ Manufacturing in Jackson, Tennessee manufactures metal components for automotive seats. Last year they purchased a FARO Edge and the data they have gained from that system helps them make more informed decisions. Their implementation has been so successful, that they recommend FARO to other manufacturers.
ARJ is part of Toyota Boshoku America (TBA) and their parent company Toyota Boshoku group (www.toyota-boshoku.com). TBA is a premier manufacturer of automotive interior systems which include seat, door trim, headliner, substrate, and carpet in addition to air and oil filters for a wide variety of leading automotive industry customers. ARJ focuses on sheet metal stamping and weldments for automotive seat components and assemblies.
As a group of companies, TBA, including ARJ, utilizes unique techniques and skills to create new products. Innovation and kaizen (continuous improvement) means that the company is constantly developing ways to be better. It is this focus on constant improvement coupled with their techniques and skills centered on best practices that has made TBA and ARJ Manufacturing a reliable supplier of the highest quality items.
ARJ works in sheet metal stamping and weldments for automotive seats. In the past they used an assortment of traditional tools – hand gauges, micrometers, calipers, and even a fixed CMM. None were able to capture the amount of data the company needed in as little time as was required.
In keeping with the company’s kaizen philosophy of improvement, ARJ looked for a better way, a way to improve the data they were able to collect and the speed at which they could collect it.
They experienced portable metrology first hand when it was used for PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) on sun roof components. Pat Reagan, Tool Manager at of ARJ, said, “When I saw this technology in action, I was sold in less than two minutes!”
A traditional fixed CMM could not define the problem with the sun roof components without a change in the programming. The customer requests were more demanding on root cause and capability of parts produced.
The technology Mr. Reagan was specifically referring to is the FARO Edge ScanArm. The ScanArm combines the contact measurement of a FaroArm® with the non-contact capability of a Laser Line Probe (LLP) into the perfect portable measurement system.
With this improved technology and capability, ARJ was, for example, better equipped to resolve a case where a customer was concerned with part quality. Using FARO, ARJ was able to quickly and accurately compare the part to PPAP (Production Part Approval Process is the standard utilized to ensure quality and efficiency with regard to part production in the supply chain and establishes confidence in component suppliers and their production processes) and the die to part overlay. Then they compared the PPAP to CAD to die and found a concern with the part die. In other words, they discovered the tool had been engineered and was creating change that was not documented by the customer. ARJ reported back to the customer with a slide presentation detailing scan data from the FARO ScanArm. The customer was satisfied with the conclusion of the report and made adjustments to their process. This was not easily possible using the older techniques of hand tools and fixed CMMs.
That said, new technology is often difficult and hard to “sell” into a company. But, as Mr. Reagan reports, “If you can get past the fear and look into the future and push the limits, it can be done. It took almost a year for our engineering and quality groups to fully accept and embrace these new methods of measurement.”
For ARJ, the FARO Edge ScanArm is now their primary measurement tool for die sections and for comparing parts from run to run. Previously, they would send tools and dies out to a vendor to be scanned as part of their PPAP. That would take up to two days. By using FARO in-house, they can do the scans themselves in less than three hours.
ARJ uses a ScanArm to reverse engineer die components and to engineer changes to existing dies; to qualify die components; to qualify sheet metal stampings to CAD or Master Sample by capturing profiles of parts; to qualify weldments to CAD or Master Sample; and to qualify new products and new die build processes.
“We like the portability of the FaroArm, of course,” said Mr. Reagan, “But the onboard measurement system is very convenient and FARO also works with Geomagic®, which we like.”
Return on Investment
Mr. Reagan continued, “Using FARO 100-percent of the time has removed emotion from our measurement and has created data as fact. The data we are now able to capture points out variations in some of our processes and gives us a direction to make corrections. We can make better, more informed, decisions with FARO.”
Using FARO, ARJ’s die component process of measuring critical dimensions to verify CAD before assembly takes mere minutes instead of hours. This has dramatically improved their processes. The company has seen such an added demand with the improved data that they have brought on a dedicated FARO Operator/Specialist.
“I want to get the word out. I tell everyone I can about this technology and show them how it works for us. I recommend FARO to everyone. This is a whole new level of measurement and process and should be in every tool and production shop. THIS is what they should be using too,” said Mr. Reagan. “I’m a tool maker and this is the way of the future. If you know die making and quality and processes, this tool will save you millions! I love it!”
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