“…we have been able to drastically reduce the number of injuries caused by battery changes…”
In 2010 the Portuguese subsidiary of Faurecia embarked on a plan to increase productivity across their 6 plants. Two of the largest plants are located outside Oporto, producing headrests, airbags, seats, and upholstery. These plants operate on a 3-shift schedule, supplying product to most major European car manufacturers.
A key part of their productivity improvement plan was to identify opportunities to eliminate downtime. Linde Material Handling Iberia, who had been supplying forklifts to Faurecia Portugal for many years, proposed fast charging. With a fast charge solution, Faurecia Portugal could eliminate the downtime that occurred when a battery was changed during or in-between each of the plant’s 3 shifts. Faurecia Portugal liked the concept and the first units were delivered in early 2012.
According to the logistics manager for the 2 plants, Mr. Paulo Laranjave, eliminating battery changing increased uptime and productivity. The time previously lost while waiting for a battery change is now productive uptime. And thanks to the decentralized location of the chargers – now strategically located between the operations area and the different break rooms – non-value added cross-facility traffic has been eliminated.
Faurecia estimates that their fast charge solution has helped them achieve a 15% increase in productivity. Additionally, space formerly used for a battery room has been re-purposed as part of the production line. And because their forklifts now run on one battery, the plants have avoided the need for additional capital being invested in second or third batteries.
They’ve also experienced fewer accidents. Says Guillermo Torres, HR manager for the 2 plants: “With the introduction of Aker Wade fast chargers in our plants, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in the number of injuries caused by battery changes. This keeps our employees safer and gives us back all the lost time we incurred in the past.” This has helped Faurecia Portugal maintain competitiveness and keep the production of the head rests and other car accessories in Portugal.
Faurecia Portugal’s experience with Aker Wade fast chargers went so well that they began planning to introduce fast charging to their Braganca, Portugal operation. In 2016, 11 fast chargers were installed. Faurecia Spain is now exploring fast charging for their plants in the Ponteverda area and 4 fast chargers were delivered in late 2016.
Faurecia Portugal is an excellent example of the benefits of fast charging in multi-shift automotive manufacturing. For Faurecia, they have seen first-hand how fast charging can help their operations save money, improve safety and give the company a competitive edge.
|Automotive component manufacturing||3 shifts, 6 days a week||25|