Ford's Bridgend Engine Plant (BEP) in Glamorgan.
Ford’s Engine Manufacturing Plant Increases Productivity
Ford has just installed a new factory bell system consisting of synchronised clocks linked to high powered sounders throughout the site to improve productivity at its Bridgend Engine Plant (BEP) in Glamorgan.
A world leader in the field of automotive manufacturing efficiency ever since Henry Ford introduced the production line back in 1913, Ford prides itself on operating efficiently. The BEP site runs 24/7 and the workforce of approximately 2,000 employees produces a staggering 700,000 engines every year. These engines are destined for Ford, and other OEM plants in the UK, Europe, USA, Mexico and China.
Timing is critical at BEP as Ford’s engineering area manager Mark Thomas explains. “It’s a huge site spread over 50 acres with seven production zones. Getting each production line working synchronously is essential to ensure production targets are met throughout the day. Everything is timed to the second, not just the start and end of shifts, but also the timing of breaks. Effective time management means we can maximise productivity across the whole site.”
“A time management system ensures that the whole site works to exactly to the same schedule. Every clock on site should show the correct time, and all the sounders must synchronise with them. As we run various shift patterns for each of the production lines, it requires separate programmes to be scheduled for each of the seven zones.”
At the heart of the new system installed by Bodet is a master clock. This takes its time signal from a GPS source so is always accurate, and automatically updates when clocks change each Spring and Autumn. The master clock can also synchronise with the computer network, so every PC also shows the same time. Slave clocks were installed around the site, each synchronising with the master clock using radio signals.
To announce shifts and breaks, 28 high power 110dB sounders were installed around the site. The sounders are also wireless for easy installation, and repeaters were included to ensure effective coverage over such a large area. The sounders are grouped into zones so each production line can have its own schedule. Each sounder, or zone of sounders, synchronises with the master clock and can be programmed to broadcast up to 16 different pre-recorded sounds to differentiate the start and end of each shift or break.
The new synchronous clock and bell system has proved highly effective with every part of the factory now working to the same time schedule to maximise productivity.
For more information visit www.bodet.co.uk.