Bearing Down on Automotive Bearing Cap Machining
The challenge was to develop a process capable of precision machining cast iron automotive engine bearing caps in quantities of 15,000 pieces per day. This program presented the challenges of achieving high volume production and maintaining extremely tight tolerances. The product consists of 4 unique bearing cap designs, machined to 0.020 mm total tolerance.
We evaluated different technologies including broaching, standard CNC machining, and high volume transfer machining, considering all options until fully qualified. This was a meticulous process of supplier visits, market research, fixture and cutting tool design, and manufacturing tests. Through extensive research and prototyping, we developed a manufacturing process capable of efficiently machining automotive bearing cap sets. We led the design and manufacturing of all work holding and cutting tools using our engineering expertise and in house tool manufacturing capabilities. The process includes complete automated machining of the 4 unique auto bearing cap designs from 2 unique iron castings, 100% in-line gauge with feedback to CNC, 2D code laser marking, complete traceability, error proofing, and automated packing.
We successfully exceeded all customer project, quality, capability, and delivery requirements. The multi-year development process was successfully implemented in mass production. The actual outcome as compared to the initial process design proves that our extensive up front engineering expertise has led to a process that can be efficiently operated and maintained.