White Paper: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Volume Ramps Versus Capital Spends

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As the automotive industry continues to invest in clean energy, the volume requirements for these vehicles continues to rise. This has caused automakers and tier suppliers to be creative when purchasing capital equipment to manufacture. Many times, the capital is not available for the long-term volume requirement when the product launches. This can create a challenge for the customer, as they want to get the most value for the overall project.

This paper describes an application for a drive module for a customer’s battery electric vehicle. The project, while having many obstacles, shows the importance of a strong engineering team that can utilize a wide range of process knowledge and be able to quickly respond to changes that continually arise throughout the project. Communication between teams cannot be overstated. You must over-communicate to communicate. Weekly schedule reviews, open issues review, and project status are required to bring a project of this size and complexity to successful completion.

The production line was originally installed on time at the low volume requirement. Three years later, the line has been re-tooled and upgraded to achieve the high-volume needs of the customer. All the engineered preparation during the initial phase allowed the re-tool and upgrade for higher volume to be completed on the customer’s floor with minimal downtime and impact to their ongoing production needs.

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