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Churning out cabins quicker

| Updated on November 29, 2018 Published on November 29, 2018

A cab enters the pre-treatment tank for the electro-deposition process

Another instance of Improve’s impact on productivity

A team from Ashok Leyland’s Hosur plant 2 won the grand finale of Improve 2017-18 in the manufacturing category for its improvement of the cabin PTED (pre-treatment and electro-deposition).

The project: capacity improvement in the cab paint shop; and the objective: to improve PTED capacity from 81,000 cabs to 90,000 cabs a year. Essentially, the PTED is a process all vehicle cabs are put through to prevent rusting of the cabs and before the cab is taken for painting.

The process involves dunking the cabs in a large tank of pre-treatment chemicals for the electro-deposition to take place. Hosur is Leyland’s plant where cabs for all its vehicles, heavy or light commercial, are produced.

As C Unnikrishnan, Plant Head, points out, the overall CV segment grew by 19.9 per cent during April-March 2018 over the same period the previous year. During this period, demand for cabins increased rapidly and Leyland found that the PTED process was a bottleneck in the entire manufacturing process.

A team comprising shop floor managers and worker associates came up with a proposal through a structured problem-solving method for a ‘live entry and live exit’ of cabs in the existing PTED line to reduce cycle time, which would lead to an increase in capacity. As Unnikrishnan explains, before this Improve project, the cabins were immersed fully in the tank while the electro-deposition process took two minutes and 2.3 minutes was the ‘travel time’ for a cab, an overall cycle time of 4.3 minutes.

In the new process suggested, the electro-deposition starts when the cab enters the tank instead of waiting for a complete immersion. The team also modified the ED oven in such a way as to accommodate eight cabins simultaneously instead of the earlier seven.

Overall, with these improvements, the cycle time for the PTED of cabs was reduced to 3.85 minutes from 4.3 minutes. As a result, the capacity increased from 270 to 300 cabs a day, up 11 per cent.

“It helped us produce 2,000 more vehicles during the fourth quarter of FY 18,” says Unnikrishnan. Apart from that, there was a power saving of 20.8 lakh units a year. The entire exercise cost just ₹10 lakh to implement.

A panel of five external jury members, who posed several incisive questions to the teams, assessed and chose this project as the worthy winner. A grand jury of senior Leyland members also scored the teams, though they could not question them.

“When I joined Leyland in 2005, we were making 63 cabins a day and I thought we were doing a good enough job; today, we do 300 a day and there’s more to come,” says Harihar. As he puts it, there are so many such incremental improvements that all add up to ‘improve’ the overall productivity.

Published on November 29, 2018
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