CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The Kenworth assembly plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, recently received two prestigious 2020 Manufacturing Leadership Awards in the Operational Excellence category for its successful SMART Tool Error Proofing System and Cab Trim Finish Line projects. The awards were presented by the Manufacturing Leadership Council of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
“These two prestigious NAM Manufacturing Leadership awards for operational excellence are a special tribute to the employees at Kenworth Chillicothe,” said Judy McTigue, Kenworth’s assistant general manager for operations. “All of our employees are dedicated to achieving enhanced quality and productivity with the goal of providing ‘The World’s Best’ trucks to our customers.”
The SMART Tool Error Proofing System project implemented a process-verification system that further enhanced torque-tightening quality and increased efficiency by automating the tightening process throughout the plant.
The Chillicothe team used Design for Six Sigma methodologies and a collaborative effort with its partner, ARC Solutions Technology, to design custom software adapters capable of removing error from the fastening process using the existing Kenworth infrastructure. Direct-current (DC) tools now are used in tandem with process verification to scan a chassis, pull the chassis specifications and populate the recipe of sockets, torque numbers and bolt locations needed for the operator to tighten the fasteners. The collaboration resulted in a system that increases repeatability and reduces the opportunity for incorrect variation by automating the decision-making requirements for each chassis.
The Cab Trim Finish Line project was undertaken to ensure “first-time-right” quality. The addition of a finish line at the end of Cab Trim and prior to the cab being set on the chassis enables enhanced functional and quality verifications on the Kenworth T680, T880 and W990 models.
The Chillicothe team held extensive workshops to develop a plan for best use of the available space, using Six Sigma and Project Management tools to meet the high-quality expectations for cabs, sleepers and hoods leaving the department. The plant’s rearrangement began in the second quarter of 2019, and the new Cab Trim Finish Line began providing benefits to the plant in September of last year. The trim, paint, material handling and mainline departments achieved significant enhancements in safety, quality, cost and delivery as a result of this project.
“Our manufacturing, engineering and quality teams constantly explore and implement continuous initiatives to our world class manufacturing processes,” said Rod Spencer, plant manager for Kenworth Chillicothe. “The goal is to deliver an even better Kenworth truck that will provide years of productive service for fleets and truck operators.”
Kenworth’s plants in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Renton, Washington, both have earned the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001:2015 certification for effective environmental management systems established to help build Class 8 trucks in an environmentally sustainable manner. Kenworth’s medium-duty products are produced at the PACCAR Ste. Thérèse, Quebec, manufacturing facility, which also holds ISO 14001:2015 status.
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