AutoMOTIVE 5 - (Page 79)

seimens.qxd 24/11/06 11:59 am Page 79 SCHRADER AND SIEMENS ELECTRONICS ASSEMBLY SYSTEMS TAKE THE PRESSURE By 2008, each of the 16 million new cars sold annually in the US will have to be fitted with a brand new type of standard safety device: a remote tyre pressure sensor. Although the end function of these devices is straightforward enough, they are notoriously difficult to make in volume. By pooling its expertise with Siemens Electronics Assembly EA , one leading manufacturer has succeeded. Brian Quinn reports. The spate of fatal car crashes in the US involving tyre US sports cars the Corvette C5 and Chrysler Prowler . blowouts focused public attention on tyre safety in an Schrader was shipping under 200,000 units a year to the US unprecedented manner. Tyre under-inflation was a key where it commanded a 100% market share. contributing factor, the profile of a tyre deformed when With the second generation Gen 2 version of the RTPMS, under-inflated in a way that put extreme additional stress Schrader set out to make the sensor much smaller and less onto the tyre walls. expensive. It also succeeded in making a product with mass- As a direct result, the US government was under severe market appeal. As a result, the Gen 2 RTPMS was specified as pressure to prevent such a problem ever happening again. a standard fit on two mainstream European executive cars: One of the last things president Bill Clinton did before the Renault Laguna and the Peugeot 607. This brought with leaving office was to sign what was called the Tread Act . it a ten-fold increase in order volumes that were well beyond This made it illegal for any new car to be sold in the US the capability of the company's existing manual assembly without remote tyre pressure sensors capable of alerting a line. driver of a dangerously low pressure. The time frame was It was at that time that Schrader first turned to Siemens four years and would take the annual US market for such EA to automate the assembly of the printed circuit boards devices from 8 to 80 million units per year. The only major UK PCBs used in its Gen 2 RTPMS and ramp up production volume manufacturer of such sensors, Schrader Electronics volumes. It specified a fully automated SMT line built around Limited, is based in Antrim in Northern Ireland. a Siemens SIPLACE 80-S-15 placement machine and Schrader Electronics part of the Gates group of Siemens conveyor equipment, and began expanding its companies and owned by $5 billion manufacturing giant facility from 17,000 to 50,000 sq-ft. Tomkins PLC has undergone phenomenal growth and the Schrader was at a manufacturing watershed. The road company 's Antrim site employs around 220 people, map for its Gen 2 RTPMS was 5m units by 2002 since focussing on the production of the company's Remote Tyre realised in advance orders and potentially 11m by 2003. Pressure Monitoring System RTPMS , which is the world's Beyond the automated PCB assembly phase, these volumes leading system of its type. were well beyond the technical capability of its manual Yet even before the unfortunate events in the US, and system assembly process. well before the Tread Act, the company was struggling to Outsourcing was considered. But although the Gen 2 keep abreast of demand for its RTPMS product. The first RTPMS was a product family, it had to be individually generation was sold primarily as a niche, unique selling customised for each application. As such, there were point option rather than a major safety feature on two select numerous different permutations and configurations of the 79

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AutoMOTIVE 5

Editors Note
Here For The Long Haul
Halewood. Rebirth of a Car Plant
Safety First
Focus on Flexibility
A Prophet Without Honour?
Chrysler Cuts It Four Ways
A MINI For All Reasons
Porsche Plans Continuous Logistics Improvement
Flawless, Consistent Execution
Ford's European Supplier Parks Deliver Lean Manufacturing Efficiencies
Cheap and Cheerful
Onwards and Upwards
Schrader and Siemens Electronics Assembly Systems Take the Pressure
No Faults Forward
A Long Way From Wheelbarrows and Bath Tubs
A New Era in US/Japanese Cooperation
A Dialogue of the Deaf