Design for Service for Carry Over Content in Concept Design

In terms of delivering better and better cost saving propositions for our clients, earlier realisation of service strategies in concept development has been a key enabler.

Ian Smith, USE* Automotive Operations Manager
Digital serviceability support from USE* Automotive promotes and enculturates a design for serviceability mindset into product development activities. USE* classify these services as SERP (Service Evaluation and Repair Process), reflecting both the competent expertise that we provide to support this function and our out of the box process toolset that we can deploy and adapt to any of our clients’ product development PLM systems. This case study examines the background for and results from deploying SERP support in upstream concept design phases.

The Challenge

Historically, USE* Automotive SERP engineers supporting our clients’ vehicle programmes during the digital serviceability phases regularly identified design for serviceability opportunities relating to fundamental aspects of the vehicle architecture.

Even so, regardless of the potential warranty saving that could be achieved through a design change, in these instances architectural aspects such as engine location or suspension hard points could not be changed. This was because when these opportunities were identified, those particular aspects of the design were frozen and it was too late to change them.

The challenge was therefore one of how to engage USE* engineers in product design before the engineering development for interfaces between systems has begun, and while the vehicle package is still very fluid. This challenge was underscored by the fact that, in these early stages, it is unlikely that there will be enough package information modelled to a sufficient level of detail to undertake a meaningful serviceability analysis. Additionally, during concept and layout design stages, the rate of change and data churn can mean that any kind of analysis can be out of date within hours.

This kind of dilemma is especially important when a new vehicle configuration incorporates carry-over technology (such as existing powertrains), where the ability to alter the configuration of carry-over items is limited. In this case, delivering a cost-effective service strategy is almost entirely dependent on the new vehicle package.

The Solution

Firstly, the emphasis of SERP Engineers working upstream in this way needed to adapt to the very fast rate of change, and with a wide range of system proposals, for the evolving vehicle design. It would not be possible, for example, for SERP engineers to work to the system of scheduled serviceability checks which characterises SERP support for more stable product development phases focusing on the interfaces between systems.

In this case, with the package proposal developing on a daily basis, it was necessary to produce a clear representation of systems-related package requirements for service, creating Service Swept Volume CAD geometry that is integrated on a daily basis into the vehicle package. This CAD geometry is used to drive service design and package review meetings coordinated by the upstream SERP engineers. These meetings are scheduled with a regular cadence alongside high level vehicle zone and manufacturing package and design reviews, and serve to communicate service requirements to the design teams, and as such provide a basis for the input of USE* SERP engineers to daily package and systems proposals.

In addition to support these meetings, more typical SERP deliverables, such as serviceability reports or business case developments involving digitally-calculated labour times, are occasionally needed. The difference between SERP working in this upstream environment and SERP working in the more stable downstream product development phases, is that in the upstream environment SERP processes allow USE* engineers to work far more reactively.
Its Benefits

In the main, our experience has shown that the benefit to the vehicle programmes of this early SERP engagement has proved to be package environments that facilitate the serviceability of critical components without the need to remove, or partially remove, the engine from the vehicle.

Our Achievements

Upstream SERP support for vehicle programmes in their advanced development stages has now become a fundamental aspect of the USE* process toolset for SERP. Through tangible warranty avoidance it has repaid many times over the funds invested in this support.

A typical example is that of a next generation vehicle incorporating a brand new body design and suspension configuration, utilising existing diesel and petrol powertrains. In this clients’ processes (as with all our clients) vehicle body and suspension geometry is frozen well in advance systems integration product development, where downstream SERP support is traditionally located.

The initial proposals for the engine bay body structure and front suspension geometry resulted in a package environment that positioned the front suspension strut towers in close proximity to the cylinder heads a proposed diesel engine. When investigating this package SERP engineers quickly found that this configuration could have a significant impact on the potential warranty cost, due to a large number of fuel system and cylinder head related procedures requiring disassembly in order to remove the engine from the vehicle. Because Service Swept Volumes were created to provide visual representation of the service and tooling access to the fuel rails and fuel injectors (in addition to withdrawal path volumes for fuel injectors and cam covers), a package proposal that met the requirements of service was agreed upon.

In this case, the potential warranty saving to the programme through the development of a service friendly package in this area alone was projected to be in excess of US$2 million in avoided labour cost.

Early involvement in the vehicle meant that major changes to the body design could be justified before these critical designs were frozen. Through the publishing of SSVs and hosting of Service package reviews, this issue was distributed at a high level to all areas of product development, resulting in the continued package protection of the areas around the cylinder heads for service access. In addition, as the vehicle programme has progressed, these package protection areas have been kept clear from all pipes, hoses and electrical harnesses.

Case Studies

Engineering Standards

Engineering Standards

‘Design for Service’ requirements from USE*
Rear Underseat Design

Rear Underseat Design

Cost effective high frequency repairs
USE* and New Technologies

USE* and New Technologies

‘Engineered in’ service strategies
US$164 million benefit

US$164 million benefit

Affirming the value of SERP with warranty data

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