Automating Pushrod Tube Polishing for Harley Davidson Motor Co.

  • Project Category: Other

The Vulcan team offers expertise in manufacturing processes to improve quality and output while reducing cost. Here is a case study demonstrating how we helped Harley Davidson Motor Co., a market leader in the power sports industry, automate their metal polishing process, and increase their production capacity.

Project Overview

  • Industry: Power sports
  • Processes: Tube Mill, automated metal polishing and chrome plating
  • Company Background: A market leader in the 600cc+ motorcycle industry
  • Challenge: Our challenge was to meet forecasted growth and cost / quality objectives.
  • Assessment: During our initial review, it became clear that automating the polishing process was necessary.

The Vulcan Solution – Automated Polishing Machine to Streamline Quality and Cost

With the demand changing exponentially, increasing capacity, improving quality, and reducing cost were paramount for our customer. The existing operation consisted of a team of 5 metal polishers, 4 belting operators and 1 buffing operator polishing on manual lathes.

Our review uncovered the following problems:

  • Material removal was inconsistent at each of the operations
  • Inconsistencies were also driven by different operators performing the same jobs
  • Variations in the unpolished material surface

To resolve these issues, we developed an automated polishing machine in conjunction with Vulcan Industries Century Plating, and Dan Technologies of Coccaglio, Italy.

Here is how this new machine works:

  • The machine consists of 4 belting stations and 1 buffing station on a carousel with 1 idle station, and 1 station for loading and unloading parts.
  • 7 fixtures are mounted on the carousel and rotate the parts as they are presented to each of polishing stations on the machine.
  • The carousel then rotates and presents the next part in line to the next station in the machine.
  • The automated polishing machine maintains consistent material removal to the specified depth to remove surface imperfections.
  • This provides a more consistent finish for chrome plating with the ability to maintain current production levels as well as meet increasing demand.

The Final Result - 50% Lower Cost, 40% Capacity Increase, 60% Reduction in Errors and Waste

Our customer was ecstatic as the cost to polish the product was reduced by 50% while capacity increased by 40%. They were also able to realize 60% reduction in rework and scrap.

At Vulcan Industries, we offer custom solutions to mitigate your manufacturing challenges. Exceptional customer service ensures your complete satisfaction and repeat business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with efficient solutions for power sports equipment and parts manufacturing.