Freightliner Custom Chassis reduces rework with large-scale 3D tech

April 2, 2019

Located in Gaffney, South Carolina, Freightliner Custom Chassis is the leading manufacturer of diesel motorhome, walk-in van, commercial bus, and school bus chassis in North America.

Freightliner custom-makes every chassis with high-precision machining and accurate assembly.

Problem

The requirements made by Freightliner’s customers are very critical to their success. Complex measurements such as frame flatness, tooling hole dimensions, wheel base centering, and tire run are all a part of Freightliner’s daily inspection routine. The tools used to perform these inspections included calipers, tape measures, and plumb bobs. Freightliner had been using these tools for years, but their Quality Action Team was looking for a way to improve their measurement processes in order to save time as well as reduce the cost of rework.

One process that required special attention was at the assembly stations where each set of chassis rails is assembled. They discovered that one of the rails would contain a slight bow as a result of the manufacturing process. The Quality Team would then have to send the chassis back into the shop in order to make the necessary adjustments, which lost Freightliner a lot of time and money.

Solution

Trae Humphries, a member of the Quality Action Team, saw an on-site demonstration of the FARO® Laser Tracker and quickly realized the benefits they would receive by implementing this system. The daily inspections performed using the traditional tools would typically take half a day to complete. With the Laser Tracker, the measurements could be taken in approximately 15 minutes.

“In the past, there was no way we could have done more than one measurement in a day, and now we are able to perform multiple measurements in multiple environments across the production floor,” Humphries said.

By using the FARO Tracker they were also able to discover what was causing the bow in the chassis rails. In less than 10 minutes, the Quality Team determined that the pins in the assembly fixture were causing the slight twist. The Tracker calculated that the pins were off by 5 millimeters, and was then used to properly re-align the pins. The FARO Tracker’s accuracy ensured that every adjustment was done exactly to specification.

Return on Investment

As a result of implementing the FARO Laser Tracker into their operations, Freightliner saved not only hours in inspection time, but also approximately $280,000 per year in rework costs.

“We were just blown away at how accurate, quick, and efficient the tool is,” said Humphries. “I encourage anybody to at least give it a shot, and I can promise you that if your needs are as critical as ours, the machine will more than pay for itself.”

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