WDS Quick Release Pins help speed up automotive production line 20 February 2017

The auto-sport division for one German car manufacturer turned to machine tool specialists, KMT Ltd, to develop tooling for production of exhaust mufflers. KMT used WDS Component Parts Ltd quick release pins to affect fast swap over of jig assemblies.

Single-Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) is one buzzword that will be familiar to those who work within a Lean manufacturing environment. Put simply, it refers to the practice of simplifying and speeding up the process of equipment change overs on the production line. With many manufacturers now using a single production line to produce multiple components, SMED is used to maximise the efficiency of changing from one assembly jig to another. Overly complicated fixtures will slow down the process and reduce productivity, while unreliable components may allow the jig to slip, which will result in wastage.

“An exhaust muffler is a far more precise piece of engineering than many people realise. It’s largely responsible for the back pressure, which can affect the car’s performance, efficiency and reliability. It also has a role in creating the car’s exhaust note, which is an important part of the driving experience with performance cars. Part of the design brief for the project was that it must be able to quickly accommodate different assembly jigs so that mufflers for different cars could be produced from the same line. We decided to use WDS fixing components because of the reputation the company has for product quality. I called the sales office to explain what was needed and was directed towards the quick release pins,” comments Adrian Degg, technical director at KMT. 

The quick release pins feature an ergonomic, cast aluminium T-handle with a release button integrated into its head to guard against accidental release. The body is constructed from 17-4PH grade stainless steel for long lasting, robust reliability. When the jig is moved into position the pins are simply dropped into place without the need for any additional tooling. A hole and ring is included on the handle for easy attachment to a lanyard, preventing the component from becoming lost during changeover.

“It’s a simple solution to the application which negates the need for spanners or screw drivers, while guaranteeing the accuracy of the positioning without the risk of the pin coming loose during operation due to vibrations or knocks”, states Adrian. 

Machine tools, process equipment and handling equipment are becoming ever more complex and specialised, and each design requires hundreds of small components that hold the equipment together. WDS manufacturers the majority of its range of over 20,000 standard parts from its UK headquarters, enabling it to provide the level of support that KMT required when specifying components for the latest machine tool.

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 743 889

Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.

Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.