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Identifying improvements to the engine assembly line simulation philosophies within Ford Motor Company

By Philip Dewson


Ford Motor Company (Ford) utilise unique simulation models to represent the behaviour of their diesel engine assembly lines. The simulation model is a computerised tool used to support modification decisions that affect the assembly processes and productivity of the lines. The stakeholders, who use the simulation outputs, lack complete confidence in them. The doubt appears to stem from a lack of documentation to prove that the model accurately represents the assembly line. This research aims to increase confidence in existing simulation models of the engine assembly lines in Ford. To achieve this, the logic behaviour of the existing Lion Assembly Line (LAL) is analysed. It is found that the LAL can be decomposed into repeatable elements by identifying common attributes and inter-element boundaries. Representational logic diagrams are produced, then verified and validated from the perspectives of key stakeholder functions. The accurate logic diagrams are composed into an Assembly Line Specification (ALS) which is used to identify gaps and correlations between the actual LAL behaviour and the simulated logic. The findings are that the simulation accurately matches reality in the majority of cases. However, there are important differences identified that require consideration during model construction. The research and development completed gave rise to the observation that model confidence could be increased to a greater extent by specifying not only the assembly line, but the whole simulation process. The content and framework identified of such a document allowed the critical analysis of the current simulation strategy within Ford to identify possible improvements to the current philosophies employed. The completion of this research and production of an ALS has increased the confidence held in the simulation model, identified ways to accelerate the modelling process and aid Ford Motor Company to remain a world-class diesel engine manufacture

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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