Concurrent Product and Process Design for Caterpillar Inboard Axles 921661
Caterpillar's inboard brake and final drive axle responds to customers needs for a lifetime service brake removed from the often hostile environment encountered by exposed shoe-drum or caliper-disc brakes. A multi-disciplined team was assembled to select the single most appropriate axle configuration. That team was composed of members of the three worldwide facilities which would manufacture the axles. After selection of the configuration, the team approach was continued from development thru production. Concurrent product and process design was felt to be the most efficient way to provide the customer with an enclosed brake and to modernize our plants manufacturing operations.
This paper will identify the methods used to develop a cost effective manufacturable axle. Working the product design and manufacturing process together provided for a more manufacturable axle, in a shorter time frame, with less start-up problems compared to the traditional approach. This program needed to overcome the problems of communications between different disciplines and remove barriers which would impede progress in development of this axle for production.
Design input from manufacturing planners was crucial to allow for the implementation of state-of-the-art manufacturing complexes. These manufacturing facilities included two large automated flexible machining systems using self guided vehicles for material movement, and a semi-automatic bevel gear and differential assembly system. These processes required specific design features for efficient operation. Concurrent product and process design made it possible.