Assembly line for full-size pickup trucks
PIA Automation is continuing to expand in North America within its primary market segment of automotive powertrains. They have a number of key accounts that they continue to work with and are constantly expanding their customer portfolio. One key account is for a very renowned US parts supplier in the automotive industry with locations all across the globe.
In Mexico, PIA Automation has finished installing the final assembly line for a transfer case which is used on the driveline of a pickup truck. The transfer case project is a large program for a very prestigious US automaker used for its 2019 model full-size pickup trucks. PIA Automation has already installed two light duty lines (1/2 ton pickup) and the heavy duty line in mid of 2018.
The assembly lines are almost 70 meters in length, configured in a u-shaped design (35 meters on each side) and the entire line has both operator-initiated cells and fully automated cells. The transfer case has two halves that are transported across the line on a pallet-based system using a LOGOMAT conveyor. There are approximately 100 parts in a complete assembly; the assembly lines are required to assemble approximately 21 different part models.
There are approximately 18 operators used on each assembly line to load the various components to upper or lower tooling on the line. Once the parts are loaded they are automatically pressed to a final location using air/oil and servo presses and confirmed with the use of different types of sensors. After the internal components are assembled RTV (Room-Temperature-Vulcanizing) sealant is applied to the two transfer case halves by means of robots. Once the RTV sealant is applied the two halves are fastened together and tightened with electric torque guns. The final stages of the assembly line are the automatic leak test, automatic oil filling, and then finally an NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) tester where the transfer case is put through various simulated in-car tests.
PIA Automation’s relationship with this customer continues to grow. PIA was awarded a purchase order for some new cells on a retrofit program of an older line and is currently designing a new large transfer case assembly and test line for another renowned US automaker that assembles 4WD sport utility vehicles.
Jeff Voll (Head of Sales, PIA Automation Canada):