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30.03.17

SDF RENOVATING THE TREVIGLIO PLANT

The first phase of work for the renovation of the production lines at the SDF Plant in Treviglio has been completed – a new project that started in 2016.
The new assembly line and the new painting plant were completed on 23rd January as part of a project that will, over the course of three years, completely renovate the tractor assembly lines, create a new line for the production of front axles and implement the new MCM machining centre, for a total investment of 22 million Euros. Thanks to the important changes planned through 2018, SDF will equip itself with an extremely flexible and completely renovated plant that meets the highest quality standards and can guarantee autonomy for the production of key components, a key element in SDF's strategy.

On the technological and industrial level, the new assembly line was created using a completely different set of solutions compared to previous systems. First of all, the slat conveyor model has been abandoned in favour of an AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles) line, which uses automated vehicles, individual carts  on which the tractors are assembled. The carts  move along an assembly line and are powered by a magnetic field generated by two buried cables, the field is used by each individual AGV, which is guided autonomously down the assembly line. This solution offers several advantages. First of all, the system as a whole is more reliable, since a malfunction to any one element will not block the entire assembly line. The system also allows curves or branches to be added to the assembly line, allowing the creation of parallel workstations that drastically reduce the bottlenecks created by traditional systems. Flexibility also means being able to make changes to the route and allows relatively simple future expansion with limited costs. The individual AGV modules also allow the operator to carry out assembly-related tasks with precision while the component is at rest in the workstation. Finally, this approach significantly improves the ergonomics of the workstations, increasing overall safety for all workers.

New innovative equipment has been added to the new line to carry out various assembly tasks. Specifically, two new workstations have been added at the beginning of the line for coupling the transmission with the engine and the front axle. The transmission is placed on a hydraulic bench that can lift it over 2 metres, simplifying assembly operations beneath the transmission. An engine manipulator that can handle 950 kg lifts the engine and connects it first to the transmission and then to the front axle, completing the tractor's powertrain.

This first phase of the renovation also included the new painting plant. The painting plant was completely renovated and separated from the production lines, which allowed the assembly lines to be extended and increased the number of workstations for each individual line. The new plant first cleans the individual assembly using five different steps to prepare the surface being treated. Next, the assembly  is robotically dried before cutting edge robot arms apply a two-component base coat followed by a two-component clear coat. Finally, the paint is baked at 80°C. Overall, the new plant has significantly improved quality, doubling the main tractor body's resistance to corrosion.

Once the project is completed in September 2018, the SDF plant in Treviglio will have two identical assembly lines, with a single painting plant for both, and a production capacity of 100 tractors per shift.