May 6, 2015 -- The Javelin advanced production planning and control system played a major role in a Formula 1 specialist gaining an automotive industry ISO accreditation.
Brick Kiln Composites are a long-established manufacturer of carbon fibre components for Formula 1 and a sports car team, with around 50 of their parts on a car in each race, ranging from electrical trays to aerodynamic aids directing air past the vehicle.
The Oxfordshire-base company currently produce thousands of different parts a year using three autoclaves, a 5-axis Haas vertical mill and Bridgeport 3-axis machine, and are now looking to expand into manufacturing components for road cars.
“With fuel economy being a priority nowadays, high end vehicle manufacturers are incorporating lightweight composite components into their build, especially luxury cars such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, McLaren, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover,” says General Manager Ronnie Dean. “Everyone’s looking to make their vehicles lighter.”
In order to add this new work to their existing portfolio, they are planning a mezzanine floor across the entire 12,000 square foot facility and building new workshops to double their manufacturing capacity, along with employing additional staff and setting up a training programme.
Although they adopt one of the most advanced techniques for making composite components – using prepreg carbon fibre reinforcement cured under heat and pressure to produce quality parts with a high structural performance – many companies will not even accept a quotation without ISO accreditation. “So we needed the ISO 9001:2008 quality standard for the manufacture of parts and accessories for road vehicles and their engines, in order to be considered.
“Thanks to Javelin, we were already operating to ISO standards, so our audit only lasted two days. Javelin enabled us to demonstrate all our systems onscreen in the office, proving our traceability, how we know exactly what’s happening on the shop floor, and who’s working on which parts.” He says Javelin was a major factor in achieving ISO accreditation, and will grow with the company, keeping them in total control of all their procedures.
“Javelin is all set to play a vital role in our automotive business – it can support a company with 500 staff just as easily as it does a company like us, currently with around 20 employees.”
Shop Floor Data Capture is used extensively throughout their manufacturing process, with terminals sited in seven departments, including clean room, inspection room and trim shop. Crystal Reports also prove invaluable in giving live updates on a component’s progress through the factory, especially for motorsport customers who have short lead times.
“We often receive the mould tool in the morning and the customer wants the component the same day.”
As they develop their automotive business Production Manager Nick Brew says they anticipate needing to make full use of Javelin’s powerful production control functionality. “With the automotive industry’s longer timescales, we’ll be using Javelin’s planning and scheduling modules all the time.”
In particular he expects the ‘What if?’ finite and infinite integral scheduling capabilities to come to the forefront. The same work load can be tested using various scenarios and manufacturing rules, and the results compared either graphically or tabular. Based on Brick Kiln Composites’ own factory model, the system provides the key to minimising Work-In-Progress, keeping lead times to a minimum, and improving delivery performance, as well as reducing costs.
With the Works Order being a core element of Javelin, it controls the progress of work through the entire process, with a full set of monitoring and tracking routines ensuring complete visibility at every stage.
Another massive plus for Brick Kiln Composites is how Javelin improved their invoicing system, along with overall traceability. Invoices are sent from the Group’s head office in Wantage, and were previously typed by hand. Now Javelin generates them automatically, and quickly.
And Nick Brew says any query about delivered parts is easily resolved. “As soon as we need to find something we can trace it extremely quickly with Javelin. And we’re able to look back and see what materials went into everything, who made it, and when it was made. “We’ve got the full material history. Everything about every component is on the Javelin database, so we can go back and look at the date of manufacture, how it was manufactured, and what material went into it.”
The uncured prepreg carbon fibre used by Brick Kiln Composites is ideal for the type of lightweight components which are becoming more important to the automotive industry. It is easy to handle, and can be cut and laid precisely into detailed and accurate moulds, making the process ideal for the complex parts that are becoming increasingly more important to the automotive industry. The ease and accuracy with which the material can be templated and cut significantly reduces waste compared to other manufacturing methods.
Part of the Vero Software Group, Javelin is a leading production control solution. Vero has direct offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Brazil, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Spain and India supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network.
Vero is part of Hexagon (Nordic exchange: HEXA B), a leading global provider of design, measurement and visualisation technologies that enable customers to design, measure and position objects, and process and present data.