Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Electro-Optical Flexible Assembly Processes
Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) has implemented a flexible manufacturing environment for the development of electro-optical (EO) assemblies. The company’s past procedure involved the use of segregated workspaces as determined by individual programs and/or processes. This approach required the development of expensive single-use alignment stations and excessive tooling, space, and test costs for new programs. Moreover, inflated cycle times were also required due to the frequent movement of hardware between locations. The company developed a flexible manufacturing approach which alleviated the inefficiencies associated with the previous assembly floor layout (Figure 3-1).
The flexible manufacturing environment utilizes a cellular approach and the development of several flexible capabilities including tooling, alignment systems, and test systems. These capabilities are flexible in the sense that they can be used for multiple programs with minimal setup time when switching between programs. The supporting alignment and test systems are located close to the assembly area to create work cells, minimize hardware movement, and reduce cycle times. Northrop Grumman DSD has identified projects to simplify the tooling required for EO assembly to ensure that future designs will be developed within the capabilities of the manufacturing, alignment, and test systems.
The flexible manufacturing environment has significantly reduced capital and tooling by standardizing the work cells. Other benefits include a reduction in the development of work instructions, decreased cycle times, and increased throughput without additional facility expansion.
Figure 3-1. Previous versus Current Layout
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