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Continental has also partnered with RedViking, which is supplying automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for its Future State Assembly line. Currently, Continental is using mechanical build stands on a set of casters that are manually pushed throughout its assembly process.
But in its Future State line, “We will have automated guided vehicles transporting the engines from station to station,” he says, noting that the AGVs will provide many benefits, including much-improved safety and ergonomics.
“The current engine build stands are extremely heavy and cumbersome,” Skolnik says, adding that the AGVs will automatically rotate and move the engine to the best, most ergonomic height and position for Continental’s team members throughout the assembly process. “For example, the team member doesn’t have to manually crank the engine over to install the sump or other accessories, the AGVs will do this automatically.”
The AGVs also boost quality levels at each station. Because the vehicles will be tied into the company’s manufacturing execution software system, they will not allow the engine to continue in process until all operations have been successfully completed.
“It forces in-station quality,” he says, noting that RedViking is well known for the flexibility and quality of its AGVs. “This is part of their core competency.”