The renovation and relocation project within the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Gas Engine Division at its Wernsing Road remanufacturing facility in Jasper, Ind., is nearing completion.
For the past year, five reconfigured major production work areas, called PODs, have been laid out with open aisle ways, improved daytime lighting fixtures and greater accessibility for materials. The project takes advantage of space left behind by the Drivetrain Divisions (Transmission and Differential) when they moved to the nearby Power Drive location last year.
“What’s left to be done involves moving the production groups that remain on the second floor of our building to the main floor,” said Matt Weinzapfel, Jasper VP of Engine Manufacturing. “Our Jasper Authentic Custom Drivetrain Engine Group will move to the main floor and be set up like a regular production POD, in order to take on additional volume. The Lifter and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) support group will also move to the ground floor, which will make them more accessible to the engine remanufacturing work areas.”
Weinzapfel said the process of driving improvement in production has really happened over the past three to four years, with a lot of workshop activities and LEAN manufacturing methodologies in those areas.
“What we lacked was the floor space to really configure a layout that was conducive to support the changes we were making,” he said.
“We’ve driven a lot of improvement in setting standards, making tools available to the operator and having visuals in place for inventory control,” added Weinzapfel. “By making these layout changes, it’s opened up the floor space, allowing the operator a more visual work environment. It’s allowing a Team Leader to effectively lead his team and provide support to the operators who are working in the PODs.”
A major goal of the project was the accessibility of Associates to deliver necessary materials to work areas within each POD. This was done through the planning of wide, open aisle ways between each set of PODs from which materials can easily flow, and gives Associates more room to operate within their respective work areas.
Each production POD includes work areas for disassembly, parts prep, block machining, head machining, inspection, final assembly, and live run testing. Supporting departments, including crankshaft, camshaft, rod and pump, are located at the head of the production lines, allowing conveyance Associates to pass through one area of the plant, pick up necessary materials, and deliver to the remanufacturing work areas.
Once completed, Jasper’s Diesel Division, located adjacent to the Gas Division within the Wernsing Road facility, will undergo its own renovation project.