Reducing the cost of creating new engine manufacturing facilities

Domain

Automotive engine manufacturing

Problem

Reducing the cost of creating new engine manufacturing facilities at The Ford Motor Company.

Approach

The Ford Motor Company makes use of computer simulation to design new engine manufacturing facilities and for process improvement in routine day-to-day operations. The production of an engine is a complex operation as it involves the manufacture and assembly of a wide variety of components into several possible engine types based on expected customer orders. Discrete-event simulation is used to experiment with different machine configurations, buffer capacities, changeover schemes (switching production from one engine type to another), shift patterns, machine downtime, etc., and contributes to ensuring a smooth work-flow in the engine production line. These experiments take a long time. It is often difficult to fully investigate new designs due to time constraints. In a collaboration between the Distributed Systems Research Group at Brunel University led by Dr Simon J E Taylor, researchers implemented a desktop grid computing system at Ford.

Outcomes

This has enabled Ford to use multiple PCs in parallel to speed up these simulations. More detailed investigations have been made possible as a result. This has led to major cost savings in the development of new engine manufacturing facilities across the world.

Page last updated: Wednesday 29 June 2011