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Testimonials: Changan Ford

Artists's Rendering of New Facility and Photo of Building in Progress Ford logo and Artists's Rendering of New Facility and Photo of Building in Progress

"Changan Ford were looking for trouble-free running..."

The Customer

Changan Ford in Chongqing is Ford's second largest manufacturing region. CAF is a joint venture which operates two passenger car assembly plants in Chongqing and has recently constructed two new powertrain plants as part of a significant expansion plan. The plan is to introduce 15 new vehicles and 20 new engines by 2015. The aim is to broaden the product portfolio and powertrain offerings to meet demand in the world's largest auto market. The new plants take advantage of state of the art technologies in order to ensure that high quality vehicles are produced efficiently and with reduced environmental impact.

The Challenge

Automotive is a quality conscious manufacturing sector with a constant drive to reduce costs while maintaining or increasing the quality of the product. Ford has been a leader in the application of total quality management and more recently has been committed to an extensive Six Sigma program. The plants in Chongqing also incorporate Ford's global manufacturing operating system in order to make the company an industry leader in lowest cost total production.

The new powertrain plants will be producing large numbers of safety critical components and therefore quality management was a top priority. An essential criteria for powertrain components is hardness and therefore new hardness testers where required as part of the quality control laboratory in the new powertrain plant.

The Ford quality process requires the recording of both Vickers and Rockwell hardness values at various points on various components. Because of the volume of tests the Vickers testing process was required to be as automated as possible, and metrological excellence and in-country, Chinese language support were viewed as essential.

Rockwell hardness tests are likely to be fewer in number than Vickers so a simple, quick and easy test process was desired, again with excellent repeatability and reproducibility and traceability.

The Solution

After exhaustive technical specifications were drawn up an investigation of the most appropriate testing machines was carried out. A number of world class hardness tester manufacturers models were investigated for metrological standards, ease of use and life cycle costs.

8150SK Rockwell hardness tester ZHVμ-A

Indentec 8150SK Rockwell testers were deemed to provide excellent reliability, ease of use and functionality. The lead screw was felt to be well engineered and the touch screen user interface easy to use. The Zwick Roell and Indentec names were both well known to the Ford engineers and the availability of factory trained service engineers from Shanghai Double L, the Zwick China sales and service partner, to provide installation and training support in local language deemed an important part of the overall equipment package.

ZHVμ-A

Technical proposals were requested from several of the leading hardness tester manufacturers. Indentec offered the ZHVμ-A Vickers Hardness testing machine. The ZHVμ-A machine, which incorporates ZHμ.HD software, has user friendly interfaces and extremely fast and reliable automatic indentation focus and measurement. In addition Indentec could offer UKAS certified calibration and measurement capabilities unmatched by other bidders and traceability to the German National Physical Laboratory (DKD). Changan Ford were looking for trouble-free running and a full training package for the end users to ensure that they could take full advantage of the HD software functionality. Therefore the quality of the Chinese sales and service partner Shanghai Double L Ltd technical support was essential.

The Result

Changan Ford took delivery of 3 ZHR8150SK combined Rockwell testers and 3 fully automatic Micro Vickers hardness testers at the end of February 2013 and Shanghai Double L sent a number of factory trained service technicians to carry out the installation and conduct a full training program for the end users. The factory is not due to commence production for some months now, but the machines are installed and the end users are ready for the testing time ahead.