A Right Angle Transfer (RAT) performs a 90-degree turn in the conveyance system of an automotive plant. The conveyance system is the circulatory system of a modern assembly plant: it moves vehicles and other parts to enable efficient assembly.
Any disruption to the operation of the conveyance system stops the assembly line.
Bringing production to a screeching halt.
That’s bad. Why?
For a fully-assembled vehicle, the cost is extremely high. We’re talking equal to the profitability of the vehicle AND
up to $1 million per hour when you factor in labor costs and overtime.
These production halts are often the result of RAT failures.
And they are costly. Let’s do the math.
In one major vehicle plant, assembly was shut down for over 24 hours during a four-month period due to unexpected RAT system failures. The financial impact? Over $70 MILLION in lost production time.
RAT systems are typically a semi-custom system. They’re built with non-standard parts – motors, belts, pinion gears, lifts and traction drivers – that have evolved over decades of configuration changes.
Often there is no single person who understands the operation and can address the vulnerabilities before a failure.
This causes operators to blindly operate their equipment at many stages of production. If they are unable to proactively implement continuous improvement, they risk being surprised by the next failure.
Another problem? Not only are RAT systems composed of unique machine parts, the motion of RAT systems is intermittent.
Traditional measurements like route-based or wireless monitoring cannot easily detect and diagnose problems during the infrequent movements. Not to mention it’s dangerous to access measurement points when a vehicle is moving through approximately once every minute.
The mechanical driver, usually an electric motor, is vulnerable to failures of the bearings and other internal components, such as rotor bars. The brake system is a source of high damage to the motor because it creates a shock to the system every time it engages or disengages.
The rollers and their bearings are vulnerable to standard failures and require lubrication and maintenance to operate properly. Often, maintenance is not properly performed because of the challenging environment and lack of accessibility.
The gearbox delivers the working motor torque to lift and lower the vehicle or skillet. The gear components are subject to wear, cracked teeth, improper lubrication, etc. The pinion gear is a source of high vulnerability, in part because of the intermittent motion and shocks to the system.
The rollers and track are also exposed to contaminants, debris and mechanical wear. They can be misaligned, which creates slippages, degradation, impacts, and more.
MOTOR SHAFT BEARING
Each motor is subject to premature degradation and failure, as are the bearings that support the output shaft. The bearings are further vulnerable to poor lubrication and improper maintenance, including contaminants from the environment.
BELTS & CHAINS
Because of the semi-custom variety of designs, each RAT includes a set of belts or chains to deliver the motor torque to each lift or traction drive. The belts and chains are often improperly maintained and subject to premature wear.
HOW CAN AUTO MANUFACTURERS
GAIN THE UPPER HAND?
The KCF Technologies IoT Hub uniquely addresses the needs of a Right Angle Transfer (RAT).
It comes packaged with up to 7 wired sensors that continuously monitor key inflection points in the conveyance system and wirelessly transfer data to a Base Station. Data acquisition is triggered through connection to the system controls, enabling synchronized measurements with known operation points.
Consistent measurements are obtained for more accurate monitoring, diagnosis, and action, so you can validate when maintenance is performed correctly. Or when it’s not.
Variations in cycle time are correlated with measurements of the IoT Hub to identify issues and enable proactive solutions. Custom dashboard integrations mean your real-time data is accessible 24/7.
Now the Operations and Maintenance teams can monitor machine health, securely and remotely, at any time.
In the Heart of Happy Valley.
1 (814) 867-4097, Ext. 116