Automotive Manufacturing Solutions

AMS Conferences


New technologies advance the lean approach

The eclectic mix of speakers at the AutoMan Global 2005 conference, organised by AMS magazine and held at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan in October, highlighted several different themes

In the midst of considerable anxiety within the OEM and particularly the tier supplier communities about falling auto sales and the severe knock-on effects of increasingly successful transplants and imports, speakers concentrated on the ‘fine-tuning’ of US manufacturing while keeping a weather eye on global automaking issues. More than 200 delegates debated the dilemmas faced by manufacturers and tier suppliers, and the solutions proposed by the well-respected speakers and panellists.

Issues discussed in this report include:




Safety and automation – making the connections
Safety was a key concern at this year’s Automan Global conference It was factory floor safety issues that held delegates’ interest during the initial session on Day 1, the importance of which was underscored by presenter Jim Caie, Director CCRW Plant Floor, Common and Advanced Systems, CCRW, General Motors&hellip

Jim Caie, General Motors – Michael Stamper, DaimlerChrysler –
Thomas Pilz, Pilz USA – Sundar Balu, Woodhead Industries –
Claude Dinsmoor, Fanuc Robotics America


Powertrain – standardizing flexible approaches
Willi Nef, Vice President and Head of the Business Unit –Multispindle, Tornos, touted the benefits of multispindle CNC lathes – not surprising since Tornos is one of the leading manufacturers of these tools, and a key supplier to the auto companies… read more >>

Body-in-white – the new shape of forming
One of the ‘show stoppers’ was a Ford GT model, a reinterpretation of the company’s highly successful late 1960s GT40 race car, parked conspicuously in the conference hall. The reason for its appearance was to emphasise a number of points made by Rama Koganti, Body Engineering Technical Expert for Ford Motor Company, who discussed the forming innovations used to create this new sports car…




Lean manufacturing – tools and teams
Scott Chakmak, Director, Strategic Accounts Powertrain, Schneider Electric, presented his thoughts on the ‘metrics’ that can be used to measure the efficiency of ‘lean tool’ design – how such theoretical tools should be not only adaptable for all ‘lean teams’ but also be affordable. He demonstrated different uses of ANDON boards, such as the one used at Chrysler’s Kenosha, Wisconsin plant…




Global thinking – local action One theme which was highlighted throughout AutoMan Global 2005 was labour and location and the design of production systems – the balance of low labour cost location versus high levels of automation in higher cost regions. Wim van Acker, a managing partner, North America operations, of strategy consultants Roland Berger spoke of how increased robotisation can make sense in high labour cost regions, particularly when working with a defined product range… 
Paintshop – higher quality, lower impact Mary Ellen Rosenberger, Manager: Vehicle Operations Paint Engineering, Strategy Department, Ford Motor Company, gave an exciting presentation during a session which debuted at AutoMan Global 2005




I was really impressed with the AutoMan Global event; it was one of the best conferences I have been to. The presentations were of a high calibre; they were very relevant to the day-to-day business environment and inspirational.

Dr Doug Hawksworth, Senior Scientist, Materials and Joining Technology, Dana Corporation

I just wanted to express my thanks and congratulations on a well-organised and productive conference in Detroit. My team from AutoForm was happy with the number of inquiries received.

Vallury Prabhakar, CEO/General Manager, AutoForm