Benefits

By introducing lightweight production equipment, it is feasible to plan production more efficiently, improve ergonomics, and solve various problems related to weight. It is common to see weight savings of up to 90% when traditional fixtures made of steel or aluminium are replaced with FlexProp's lightweight equipment made of carbon fibre composites.

This has a major impact on how production can be planned. According to a client, they have been able to reduce workshop area by 60% and energy consumption by 40%, and a model change is now completed in only one day compared to five days with previously used technology.

Productivity

A lightweight robust manual fixture or a robot-manoeuvred fixture can have tremendous impact on productivity. In some cases, every ounce of weight savings improves performance of the production cell. There are examples where the moment of inertia is reduced by more than 90%. This has fundamentally changed the way production is planned and will, in most cases, give considerable increase of productivity.

Tolerance

Carbon composite materials have little, if any, thermal expansion. This has a large impact on how especially large machines and fixtures can be designed. A tool from FlexProp is lightweight due to the manufacturing process and choice of materials which are virtually free from internal stresses thus providing high precision and dimensional stability throughout its lifetime. It is also well documented that the tolerance of lightweight tooling from FlexProp is very sharp and remains so.

Flexibility

Some production lines are limited to being redirected to where the fixtures are permanently attached to the floor. If a fixture is instead handled by a movable robot, the production flow can then be planned in a straight line. When a different model is being produced, it's as simple as changing the robots' fixtures. This has a major impact particularly on how truck cabs can be produced.

Laser brazing is one of the most demanding welding methods used in the automotive industry. The tolerances are sharp and the demands on the fixture are among the toughest. FlexProp has shown that it is feasible to reduce by more than 90% the weight of the base of a fixture used for roof laser brazing. This does not change the way production is run but has a positive major impact on investment cost, flexibility, workshop floor and energy consumption.

Investment Cost

By introducing lightweight tooling, the system as such can be downsized. In many cases, this has a large impact on the system cost. The price difference between conventional steel fixtures and a lightweight tool from FlexProp is significantly less than the additional cost for a larger robot. When the steel alternative requires specially-designed machines, there is a significant potential for cost reduction.

Where lightweight manual equipment is used, the maintenance costs have been significantly reduced due to excellent robustness and decreased wear, well motivating the extra cost for a lightweight tool.

Ergonomics

It is quite obvious that when the weight of a manual tool has been reduced from 36 to 8 kg, the operators are most thankful. In addition, productivity and quality improve. This is always combined with unchallenged robustness. A manual composite tool from FlexProp is insensitive to almost any mishandling.

Problem Solving

There are examples of applications where the system is running with to much load or very close to maximum and suffering from wear, causing high maintenance costs and production stops. As FlexProp's technology is interchangeable, a number of clients have experienced significantly reduced maintenance costs, reason alone to invest in a new fixture/gripper.

Our clients

VOLVO

Audi

General MotorsAirbus

SAAB

SEAT

VolkswagenSkoda

Land Rover