European Conveyor Systems (ECS) has installed a high-efficiency automated conveyor at the Merseyside factory of Johnson Controls, which makes interior components for Jaguar cars. The custom-built system is part of a major investment to enable Johnsons to supply Jaguar with door casings for the X-Series, built at Halewood.
The door casings are produced in four different colours in batches of 25 car sets at a time. These are held in stock, ready for components such as door handles and switches to be fitted. In order to meet Jaguar’s requirement for just-in-time delivery (JIT) of completed casings at eight hours’ notice, Johnsons keeps a stock of about 500 casings ready for assembly.
The ECS conveyor system is designed to carry special stillages – each holding six car sets – from the processing area to the door assembly section, transferring stock on a first-in, first-out basis as required. The stockholding area comprises 36 twin-strand chain conveyors on two levels, each capable of holding three stillages, with the different sections accessed by automatic transfer cars and lifts.
On the assembly side, five take- off conveyors have been provided for unloading door casings from the stillages, which are then re-circulated automatically back to the processing area by a zero-line-pressure accumulation conveyor with powered rollers. The conveyor system is controlled and the location of the stillages mapped by a PLC with a colour touch-screen operator interface, which also provides a colour selection facility and inventory data.