On the rear suspension process located on the automobile assembly line, production associates developed a spring-loaded tool fixture for use during the "link arm" tightening segment. This tool fixture greatly reduced the removal pull force and improved cycle time, scrap rate and associate morale.
Production associates had difficulty removing the old manual tool fixture because it jammed when used to install the "link arm" to the rear suspension of the car. The pull force required to remove the jammed tool fixture averaged 133 lbs. Four injuries to fingers and hands had occurred during the removal of the jammed tool fixture over a 12-month period.
Honda production associates developed a new spring-loaded tool fixture from "off-the-shelf" materials fabricated in-house. Total estimated development cost for the new tool was $200.
By using the new spring-loaded tool fixture during the "link arm" tightening segment of the process, the following improvements were realized:
Since the implementation of the new fixture, no injuries have occurred. The estimated cost savings from quality, cycle time, and injury avoidance is approximately $1 million.
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