During completion of routine inspections a significant defect was found that allowed remedial action to be taken and a catastrophic failure avoided. PEME had recently completed an Asset Care project for a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer of vehicle tail lights which introduced a new maintenance regime. We then mobilised a maintenance partnership to deliver and further improve the maintenance program.
Injection moulders are used to manufacture vehicle tail lights by injecting liquid plastic into a moulding tool which is then compressed by the moulders hydraulic system to form the required shape / size for the lamp body or lens. Each injection moulder has the ability of producing different products when a different tool (mould) is fitted in the moulder. When a new tool is fitted the ring gear at the back of the press is used to make fine adjustment to ensure the tool is fitted correctly into the press.
Whilst conducting a routine Preventive Maintenance Task List, PEME Technician, Adam Linton, discovered that the bottom left hand Ring Gear Tie Bar Nut had split. He recognised that if left, this could result in a significant failure at the next tool change and took immediate action to elevate the fault to the site Engineering Manager. He in-turn acted immediately to prevent further tool changes until a repair had been conducted. If a tool change had taken place before the repair and the tie-bar nut had split, the tool itself may have been damaged resulting in extended downtime as well as significant economic damage to the moulder. Adams prompt action meant that the damaged tool was able to be kept running as the ring gear only operates during a tool change; a new nut was sourced and delivered the following day and production were able to plan downtime for the press repair to take place at a time convenient to them rather than suffer the breakdown as a result of a greater failure.
The image shows the true extent of the damaged ring gear nut once it had been removed.
Once the corrective maintenance task had been completed and the machine re-commissioned, PEME Site Supervisor, Tom Cosgrove, conducted a fast-track Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to see if there was an underlying cause that required further action. This concluded that this was a fault that had not been suffered before, the part in question is fully guarded preventing damage by personnel or moving tooling and therefore there is a strong possibility that the item fitted was defective.
Tom said “ the new PM Task List had introduced a very directed task to send the Technician to look for this problem and so that was a good outcome but Adam’s response in recognising the seriousness of the issue and acting accordingly was first class. Exactly, the behaviour we encourage within PEME”.