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Cost savings, more reliable joints and protecting the company’s good name — Atlas Copco’s Production Optimization service helps customers do all that. It is a preventive program in which our experts make sure the customer’s production equipment works as smoothly and flawlessly as possible. At just one station, it can help save tens to hundreds of thousands of euros a month.

Tightening joints involves great reliability and safety demands. Even small errors can cause a great deal of damage. Therefore, companies that are exceptionally committed to quality like Nexteer Automotive (global steering systems, columns and driveline products manufacturer supplying over 50 car makers around the world), invest considerable sums to monitor tightening processes and repair bad joints. “As many companies in the automotive business, each and every day, we were forced to repair significant amounts of joints. This activity cost us too much, which is why we decided to turn to professionals like Atlas Copco.” explains Krzysztof Til from Nexteer Automotive. That is why this worldwide control and steering systems manufacturer turned to Atlas Copco for production optimization. And they have never regretted it.

Manufacturing errors don’t have to happen

Our team of experts examined the customer’s line step by step. “The first thing we always do is optimize the customer’s equipment and the tightening joint itself. Then we analyse the entire assembly process,” explains Adam Baszczok, who is in charge of production optimization at Atlas Copco. He knows from experience that the later a defect is spotted during assembly, the more it costs to fix. “We noticed that the tightening program Nexteer Automotive alerted us to could have been adjusted more precisely. Nexteer’s current program created significant variance in the resulting tightening torque. Then the operator had to repair many joints, which had its effect on decreased production efficiency,” Baszczok explains.

They therefore provided the customer with an optimized software solution that decreases the number of defective joints. They are also planning to check the rest of the company’s production stations. “Production optimization helped us a lot by lowering outlays for repairing defective joints. We figured out that cooperation with Atlas Copco was the right thing to do when it comes to getting even better in terms of manufacturing processes” Til says, praising the collaboration with Atlas Copco.

Step by step

Tightening is a very complex process, and many factors affect the quality of the resulting joint. Therefore, expert analysis is very important to optimization. “It can be an operator error, but details like a screw’s surface material, low quality, a missing washer or dirt in the joint can all change the final characteristics of the joint,” says Baszczok, explaining all the things his experts look for on site at the customer’s. This is why his team goes through the entire process step by step when optimizing production.

“First, we find the correct tightening torque setting and check for operator error. Only then can we move on to checking the joint itself,” says Baszczok. Part of the collaboration is proposing optimization of the assembly process. The customer learns where there are gaps in the production, how to eliminate them, and how to keep an eye on the whole assembly process, so that defective joints don’t happen in the future.

Ideally, Production Optimization is involved before the assembly equipment is even purchased. “The customer understands their field perfectly, and we’re experts in tightening. Therefore, we can propose the most effective solution and save the owners’ money and time. This lets them relax, focus on their business, and not bother with fixing badly tightened screws,” says Adam Baszczok.

It’s never too late to optimize

Production optimization is called for even if the assembly line has been running for a while. It is just what Nexteer Automotive needed.

Thanks to years of experience, Atlas Copco analysts can find deficiencies that can cause defects in joints tightened on the assembly line. “If there’s any room for improvement during assembly, we’ll find it,” says Baszczok confidently.


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