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RapidPro assists Roaring 40s in assembling Ford car

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Since taking over Roaring Forties in 2005, Jonathan Klopsteins and Paul Bottomley have been putting their combined 30 years of Automotive Engineering experience to good use.

This is not to say that the car needed re-working, but providing vehicles consistently of high quality was top of the agenda.

“We’d heard of 6 Sigma, and the D.M.A.I.C. system before but hadn’t seen the methodology put into practice. The RapidPro team helped us become more customer focused which we used as the basis for our plan of attack. All current “known” assembly and engineering issues were ranked and then we worked on plans to fix them,” said Jonathan.

“In short we’ve been able to reduce the number of parts and improve component design in a number of key areas. Even for low volume “digital” manufacturing, RapidPro developed numerous assembly aids – all of these changes may be transparent to our customers but it makes for a better product”.

The current project looks at shoe horning a new 5.4L Ford V8 replacing the old 4.6L. The traditional method would involve fitting a dummy engine into the existing chassis and noting where it fouls with the surrounding architecture. This method works but is difficult to track all the necessary changes along with looking at all of the part and assembly issues.

Paul explained, “We’re looking to work smarter, not harder. We already had the chassis modelled in SW for on going FEA work and then looked to Scan Xpress to help with scanning the engine and gearbox assembly. The view is that we can manipulate the components and generate a virtual build.”

Kevin Warwick, of Scan-Xpress, explains “With our scanning techniques, complex geometries like the gearbox case etc are easily digitised into cloud data using the GOM ATOS Scanning System.”

“The system can scan both large and small objects with guaranteed accuracy. Even as raw data this can be exported directly into CAD Software”. Because the accuracy of the scan is better than 0.05 mm, Roaring 40s know they can be confident in the results.

A group (Roaring 40s/Scan Xpress/RapidPro) of engineers and mechanics sitting around a screen and viewing the data can highlight a number of potential assembly issues much quicker and easier than pushing around a power train assembly with a block and tackle.

Roaring 40s recognise that 3D scanning can save considerable time and costs in the areas of design, reverse engineering, rapidprototyping and complex inspection.

Paul states, “Being able to use one modelling program is of huge benefit. With Soildworks we were able to import scan data, model the chassis to suit the new configuration and note any changes in chassis dynamics with the FEA ad on.”

“The scanning helped enormously and we’ve plans now to digitise the entire vehicle. Considering that Scan Xpress have modelled Black Hawk helicopters it shouldn’t be an issue".

“We’re reviewing our plans regularly to see how we can produce low volume parts in the most economical manner – RapidPro have been able to open our eyes to not only scanning but using prototypes not just to build mock ups and functional parts but to utilise the technology to produce patterns (casting and thermoforming), assembly aids and low volume digital manufacturing.

“RapidPro has also managed a number of our aluminium casting projects," Jonathan explains

Sounds like the GT40 will live well beyond its 4 LeMans wins of 66/67/68/69.

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