THIS IS A MECHANICAL, NOT ELECTRICAL PROBLEM. 3/4" PIN IN A 2" HOLE? a DENTED HOLE MEANS THE PART SHIFTED 5/8". THAT SEEMS TO BE THE BIGGER PROBLEM. I HAVE ALWAYS USED O.5MM CLEARANCE ON A LOCATE PIN TO STOP THIS PROBLEM, THEN PARTS SHIFT, PICK/SET ACCURACY AND CYCLE TIME ARE NOT AN ISSUE. YOU CAN'T ALWAYS "SOFTWARE " OUT OF A PROBLEM.
This entire example makes me think of the metaphor "the left hand--the engineer--doesn't know (or care) what the right hand--the line electrician--is doing" in large organizations. Or, apparently, what the right hand really needs.
@taimoortariq: Your comments about production vs reckless reminds me of a situation that occured some years ago. We had a die that ran great at 160 strokes per minute in a particular press. We could fire it up at the start of the shift and run trouble free all day. However, the press was capable of 180 spm and it drove the owner crazy when we ran at less than max. So he would go out in the pressroom and turn the speed up. Shortly the die would misstroke and the operator would have to fish out a tangled mess and restart the whole process. He would always set the press at 16o spm and all would be well until the owner came around again.
We fought that battle for a couple years and then I changed jobs. Several years later I ran into another toolmaker who still worked for that company. He assurred me that the same battle was still being fought. It makes no sense to fight with the man who signs your paycheck. Nomatter how wrong he was, he was always right.
Thinking J, good points. So many of the Sherlock Ohms and Made by Monkeys problems hinge on good communication. Again and again we see examples of the damage that can be done when communication breaks down.
There have been a few comments about why did the distortion of the floor pan around the holes even matter. I have an answer as to why the distortion of the edges of a 2 inch hole matter, and it does matter a lot. Those holes are usually in the bottom surface, and they get plugged and thus sealed, by snap in plastic plugs. But if the edge of the hole has a wave, or a ripple, or some other similar damage then the seal will not be waterproof, and water that gets splashed against the bottom of the truck will gget in and be soaked up by the undercarpet cushion, or the noise deadening material, if the vehicle has a rubber floor mat. The result would be a rusted through fllor pan in a very few years, and also a smelly vehicle for quite a while before that. Both would be strong indicators of poor quality in the construction, which would be true.
As for the engineer who would not accept the change, it is quite likely that he was not the one in charge of making the whole line work, but instead an individual assigned some small part of the process, such as the floor pan transfer section of the line. That is how some plants used to work. I know. We had some testing machines for throttle bodiy calibration back a few years, and we constantly had to battle with an engineer who believed that running the servo gain up so high that the servo that set the downstream vaccuum would be unstable was making the process better because it was faster. But it was not able to hold the vacuum steady while oscillating, and so we were critisized for not having our machine performing correctly. Eventually we made strip chat recordings that showed that it was accurate with our settings but inaccurate when he changed them. That got US off the hook.
Many valid observations about the role of the different players (engineer, tech, operator, management)
It is obvious the author didn't believe his suggestion was given an appropriate merit. Also obvious the author believed his "solution" was the best solution (I can't see any problem with his conclusion - less wait time, slightly longer robot motion time).
His detective work (techincal) .. was commendable.
However, the real lesson (as suggested by other's observations) of this story is much more.
The engineer didn't explain his reason for dismissing the suggestion. Bad idea.
Perhaps he assumed the cycle time of the machine was equal to the work station cycle time? Perhaps he wanted the station to fail - to communicate HIS concerns to management on a related issue? Perhaps he was just lazy. Many excuses... all poor.
The "solution" was put into place without the engineer's blessing. Not a good indication of a real team working to a common goal. He may have done the "right thing" but a more complete solution of total cycle time reduction on the line was not (could never be) put into place. Why accept 1.7 seconds of wait time on 2 minute cycle time? - 1.4 % improvement could be significant on a ROI. Maybe not an issue at the time, but could indicate best place to spend money on improvements on the line.
Which leads back to management falling down on the job.. making sure everyone communicated and worked toward a common goal. Perhaps they too were just to lazy to do their job. Or did they assume it was someone else's job? Certainly it cannot be considered a good work environment if the tech believed the only way to do the "right thing" was to be deceptive to the engineer (no other course of action available?).
Unfortunately, a common theme in many of these "detective" stories.
The real issues are often human.. not technology based.
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