Warren, Michigan – May 19, 2021 – Eckhart has been highlighted as a key player in polymer additive technologies for assembly aids within the automotive industry. In Plastics Engineering’s May 2021 issue, Eckhart demonstrates how their innovations lead to efficient tools that help workers build vehicles in record time, while creating a safer and more precise production environment.
Over the years, the search for more affordable additive manufacturing and 3-D printed tools to be used in production facilities has become increasingly popular. This idea of thought has spread across the industry and as more companies adopt this method, more individuals will realize this process greatly reduces costs, cuts delivery time, and increases workers safety.
Designing cost-effective, light-weight tools, Eckhart is a key integrator in the automotive manufacturing game. Eckhart’s work for General Motor’s additive manufacturing team developing assembly-assist equipment for installing wheels on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Pickups showcased their innovative capabilities.
“While we were working on the larger program, someone asked if we could help them install lug nuts on wheels faster,” recalls Bob Heath, Eckhart Additive Manufacturing Applications Engineer.
Customarily, lug nuts were hand start on threaded bolts, then an operator would use a multi-spindle tool from JEMMS-Cascade Inc., Troy, Mich., attached to a battery-operated power tool to tighten all lug nuts simultaneously at the same RPM. While the Jemms tool is no match to the clock, the mere fact that it is powered makes it easy to over-torque and strip the threads. Eckhart was tasked with designing a tool that reduced torque output to ensure line operators cannot cross-thread the lug nuts.
Eckhart’s work with the Ford additive manufacturing team in selecting a lift assist to move transmission housings from machining cells to dunnage tracks for 2018 Ford Escape crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) and Fusion sedans was also recognized. The original multipiece steel end effectors weighed 90 pounds (41 kilograms). The Eckhart team redesigned the end effectors using more complex geometries that better interfaced with the transmission casting and eradicated common operator challenges.
About Eckhart, Inc
With over 60 years of experience and headquartered in Warren, Michigan, Eckhart engineers advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of life. Eckhart’s proven portfolio of Industry 4.0 technology includes autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), collaborative & traditional robotic systems, automated assembly line design & simulation, 3D printing, and lift-assist & secure ergonomic assembly tooling solutions for the world’s largest manufacturers. Eckhart serves an established and loyal, blue-chip customer base of leading industrial original equipment manufacturers that include General Electric, Boeing, Honda, Carrier, John Deere, Subaru, Honeywell, Schneider Electric, & Toyota. For additional information, please visit www.eckhartusa.com.
About Plastics Engineering
Plastics Engineering features in-depth articles about innovations that impact plastics professionals across disciplines. It is published on behalf of the Society of Plastics Engineers by John Wiley & Sons Inc.