A unique ‘camera shuttle’ is helping employees at Nissan’s Sunderland plant work, by letting staff watch themselves build cars on ‘live TV’.
Cameras have been fitted onto two motorised shuttles on the Primera/Almera door assembly line in the Trim & Chassis Shop.
The shuttles have been programmed to travel down the line relaying pictures of the car doors onto a 17-inch screen. The operator watches the screen to help him/her fit parts onto the far side of the door, instead of having to work by touch.
The shuttles were designed and built in-house by the plant’s ‘Kaizen’ workshop - kaizen is a Japanese word meaning ‘the spirit of continuous improvement’.
Kaizen Supervisor, Colin Carr, explained: "Because one side of the door faces away from the operator as it moves down the line, some of the work had to be carried out ‘blind’.
We tried several ideas to improve the situation, such as using mirrors, but none worked well enough to hit the very high quality standards we set. It was then suggested that we use cameras to allow manufacturing staff to actually see themselves working on a TV screen."
The motorised shuttles are programmed to move independently of the line so, while one films rear doors, the other tracks the front doors.
Colin added: "It was a difficult project because there’s very little space line side, so the shuttles had to be kept as small and as light as possible.
"We ironed out all the teething problems in a couple of months and put the shuttles to work. I’m pleased to say that they are delivering good results in terms of boosting quality, and the operators have quickly got used to watching themselves on TV."Published 3 December 2004