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Investment in Concentric’s Birmingham plant

Under the latest phase of its ongoing investment programme, Concentric AB has unveiled a new automated facility at its Birmingham plant to assemble and test oil pumps for the new Perkins Tier 4 engine.

The new Perkins Tier 4 cell incorporates a number of cutting-edge technologies designed to achieve and maintain the highest levels of output and quality. There are three semi-automated assembly machines backed by a fully-automated final test and packing facility.

The manufacturing facility has been ergonomically designed for operator ease and process flow. A single operator loads parts into the three sub-assembly machines with the aid of fully-integrated HMI navigation.
The cell is designed throughout for a "no-fault forward" method of assembly and incorporates a high level of Poka Yoke systems in order to capture all components and detect any discrepancies within the individual parts as they pass through the system.

A rotary indexing system assembles the pump cover to the body and carries out an accurate "torque to turn" test along with a precise "backlash" measurement. All data acquisition is captured and controlled by the latest version of LabView in order to obtain and monitor actual readings to drawing tolerances.. All press load data can be viewed within Promess RUFM software and all communications are controlled via Profibus for robust data transmission.

From the indexing station, the fully assembled pump is transferred to the test rig by means of a six-axis Fanuc robot with multi-head tooling. This not only picks and places the pumps between each stage but also automates part number recognition, scanning and packaging ready for dispatch.

Launching the new Birmingham facility, Wim Goossens, Concentric’s Senior Vice President of Europe and Rest of World commented: "This is the latest in a series of investments in Birmingham and an important step in our target of constantly improving manufacturing standards and eliminating defects. The overall aim is to achieve class-leading lean efficiency in all our operations worldwide, from the global supply base, through high value-added manufacturing, test and assembly, and finally to 100% "on time, in full" delivery to its customers."
Concentric worked closely with Perkins to develop two oil pumps, one for their 4 cylinder engine and one for the 6 cylinder, as well as three water pumps, covering the 1200 series engine range.

These pumps have taken the performance of the Perkins Tier 3 pumps, which Concentric also supply, to a further level. The Tier 4 pumps combine higher output with enhanced robustness and reliability. The oil pump components are predominately machined within Concentric’s Indian plant and assembled in their UK plant. The water pumps are manufactured fully in the Indian plant, again using "no fault forward" methods, on purpose-built equipment.

The Perkins 1200 series engine builds on the successful 1100 series engine, offering a range of new and higher capacity Tier 4 models. The 1200 series is designed to power construction machines, agricultural tractors and a vast array of material handling and general industrial applications.

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