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Case Study | Gear Motor Assemblies

The Issue

In early August of 2011 we received an order for 460 rugged gear motor assemblies from a leading innovator in the solar industry. These assemblies drive a high performance single axis solar tracker, which dramatically increase the yield of silicon flat plate panels as compared to fixed installations. The standard lead time was estimated at 15-16 weeks.

Our Task

In order for our customer to meet their commitments, they required an expedited 8 week delivery from VMA.

Our Solution

VMA's planning, purchasing, and production team diligently worked together to develop strategies that would satisfy the compressed delivery requirement. We dual sourced the critical custom gears and used express shipping methods to save days in travel time. We maintained daily correspondence with all the suppliers in order to ensure they were meeting our prescribed milestones.

Our machining team designed fixtures which allowed several operations to run in one setup and therefore shortened the cycle needed to get parts to plating. We also reallocated additional resources to 2nd shift to allow for more machine time on critical components. Within 2-1/2 weeks of getting the initial order, we were providing a continuous flow of parts to plating and thereby ensured the same essential flow of plated parts back to our assembly line.

For the assembly line; we calibrated torque tools, strategically arranged work benches and vises, enhanced our customer’s documentation with our own detailed procedures, and developed a custom shipping carton/skid which optimized the final packaging operation. We provided the assembly team a daily throughput goal and added second shift support to ensure their quota was attainable.

Everyone in the process was initially briefed with the urgency of meeting our customers delivery date. The entire team rallied to meet the challenge. Without any hesitation, additional hours were worked and schedules were often modified.

All 460 units were delivered on time directly to the solar field sites out west, positioning our customer to complete their solar field installation on schedule.