Drive technology provider SEW-Eurodrive has supplied geared motors to an automotive company as part of an expansion project at its assembly plant in Silverton, Pretoria.
The main subcontractor was tasked with upgrading the assembly lines and SEW-Eurodrive supplied the geared motors which drive the whole assembly line.
SEW-Eurodrive sales representative Phillip Steyn tells Engineering News that, owing to the company’s “quality reputation” in the automotive sector, the main subcontractor was directed to use SEW-Eurodrive’s products as the automotive plant preferred such products on its assembly lines.
“The automotive plant required a better product throughput to complete the production of more vehicles on a daily basis. SEW-Eurodrive had to ensure that its geared units could handle the product throughput.”
Steyn adds that the calculations SEW-Eurodrive made verified that its geared units will be able to handle the required capacity as there is a specific time cycle that the client requires for every vehicle section.
As the subcontractor started with the installation of the new lines in December, SEW-Eurodrive had to ensure that all the required geared motors were available ahead of the installation.
Further, while the main functionality of the project is essentially SEW-Eurodrive’s standard scope of supply, the company had to ensure that it met the delivery times of the subcontractor, as the subcontractor still had to implement the company’s geared units on the systems yet to be installed.
With SEW-Eurodrive applying its full scope of electronics for this project, Steyn emphasises that the accuracy of the movement was critical, as the company had to ensure that the line stops the vehicle at a specific point of assembly for the specified time.
“The reason is that, if one section is delayed, even for a short time, the whole line is delayed. It is so critical that, if there are any delays, the subcontractor will be charged for the time downtime, which is a big financial risk.”
SEW-Eurodrive also used the HK gearbox, which has a disengaging clutch in case there is a power outage at the plant. It also supplied a top-of-the-range variable-speed drive (VSD), which ensures accuracy and control of the assembly line.
“We had to verify that our gearbox and our VSD will meet the requirements, especially regarding the safety aspect. We then supplied brake motors on the gearboxes, with an additional brake sensor monitoring brake wear. Apart from an additional safety check, this gives peace of mind in terms of preventive maintenance,” he says.
Moreover, as production assembly lines in the automotive industry are mostly automated, the industry often requires the most advanced technology, the quickest movement times and the best feedback possible, says Steyn.
SEW-Eurodrive is always receiving feedback from its German counterparts on new developments in the industry. The German head office in Bruchsal has a dedicated research and development facility where qualified engineers are constantly assessing products to offer solutions on improving the products.
“Whenever there is a new product on the market, it is always such a synchronous event for us here locally. We have direct access to German quality-engineering solutions for our local clients. Market research and customer feedback are very important to us so that we can also get their point of view on where we can improve our service in terms of efficiency.”
With the whole world gradually moving into cost-savings initiatives and going green, Steyn underscores that one of the company’s key drivers is being proactive in aligning its product range with client requirements.
The company is working on upgrading its entire electronics range, which it hopes to introduce to the market this year.