Subaru Increases Production with GE’s Automation Software

Subaru is the fastest-growing automaker in the world. We really have been tasked with increasing our production capabilities in North America. Everyone in this plant is working hard to reach that goal. So we really have been using the softwares for anything from uptime improvement to getting into some of the predictive Stuff. Like every other company in America, the officers in the company want more real-time data. Every single Subaru that runs down the line gets filled with Antifreeze, a/c charge, fuel. We monitor every aspect of those fill. And then we also keep that data so that maybe six months down the road you find out a car had a problem with the brakes you can go back and look at that fill data and say well we knew how much went in. We knew how long it took. We knew all the details about that fill on that certain car. I would totally recommend the software other companies. This software has really made its accountable as far as the maintenance department of our equipment is working this way. It shows the data we need. The software helps us by tracking the vehicle. They’re able to type in the vehicle number and know exactly where that is in the plant. So in our body assembly section we currently have over a thousand robots. We have people on the floor that manage that daily production, respond to faults. But, we don’t always see where our main issues are at and by monitoring the performance of the robots we get that information and then we can direct our engineering and maintenance departments on what they need to be fixing. Our TPM process is structured with basically zero losses. So our goal was no downtime and the software helps us work towards that Goal. I think it would be almost impossible to run the operation rates that we’re currently running without that software without the visibility and without the data to lead us to what we should be working on. The beauty of the GE products — and all of them. GE does a lot of work testing. Anything that causes the computer to have a glitch means downtime to me it’s not acceptable for me. Honestly GE’s done a really good job of looking out for that to make sure we don’t have those issues. Our new shop is all wheel driven for the conveyor System. It’s like 1400 different motors pushing cars around for facility. The fact that I can see each and every one of those motors and I can see it’s having a problem remotely. The maintenance individuals can see that as well. I don’t need a staff of a hundred maintenance people here where the lines running we can do it with ten or less. The Web HMI we’re really looking forward to getting that out into a tablet form or other forms right into the hands of the maintenance or even upper management so they can see what’s going on in the plant real-time. I can’t wait to implement the new historian features, some of the new HMI features that give better understanding of what the alarms are so the drill down affects and things like that. I would wholeheartedly recommend iFIX. As a matter of fact, here at Subaru we are trying to expand iFIX to all departments. It’s something that does help the paint shop and the trim shop. I recommend GE to a lot of the vendors that we do business with. When we go down to look at issues they’re having, I mentioned how I’ve used the product in different ways. Not just the HMI pieces, but the historian pieces. There are a lot of historians out there that do a lot of things, but GE’s version of that is pretty much just like the rest of the software open to other applications very cleanly. And we have a number of vendors that have taken that and really made improvements. We really want to make sure the customer gets what they’re looking for, finding anything we can do to improve our Process. We want to give an excellent product at the end of the line [Music]

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