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Chrysler's Annual Layout Requirements

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David McGan

#1
We have come up against a "Catch-22" situation that I frankly am at a loss to figure out. Chrysler requires a "complete annual layout inspection." For those familiar with die casting, it is naive at best to think that a casting die with 100,000 (or even 50,000) shots will conform 100% to all print dimensions. To correct some of these dimensions would require welding of the steel, which would severely accelerate further deterioration. To replace the cavity set prior to the one-year anniversary would result in scrapping a die that is producing fully functional parts.

Once we have performed this annual layout and find a dimension outside print tolerances, we can no longer knowingly ship parts made with this die. If Chrysler will not give us a deviation to ship, or will not waive the annual layout requirement (both of which have happened), our only alternative is to not ship parts. Yet, Chrylser tells us that we MUST ship parts.

If we send the die to the tool shop to have the discrepancies corrected, we still will miss shipments. If we produce a bank of parts to allow us time to correct the die, then we can't ship those parts, either.

I wonder if anyone at Chrysler really considered the potential ramifications of this requirement. Has anyone had any experience with dealing with this issue? (I would ask my registrar, but am reluctant to do so, for unstated obvious reasons).

In addition, it is only going to get worse, because effective January 1, 1999, Ford will also require annual layout.
 
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Max Perez

#2
Dave: Some questions about how you got into this problem in the first place (that your customer is bound to ask when they find out about the problem, whether they hear it from you or the assembly plants when they complain):
1) If you are in the business of making dies that are high wearing, were they not designed to wear from the maximum down to the minimum (or vice versa depending on the part of the die you are looking at)?
2) Did the die wear surprise you? If it did, I hope your FMEA's were revised (D and P). If it didn't, did you mention it to the customer when you were quoting the program so that a back up plan can be generated and implemented when the time comes?
3) Why does a nonconforming dimension have to only be found at the annual inspection? If wear is an issue in your commodity, doesn't it make sense to track tool wear on a regular basis (a-la SPC) in order to implement PREDICTIVE maintenance?
Lastly, the customer is not an ogre that has to be fought, but a partner that should be consulted when you are in a jam. Some suppliers are afraid to discuss their problems with the customer because they are afraid of possible repercussions, but remember, the customer has been shafted may times in the past by suppliers that are less than honest. A little honestly goes a long way, but don't expect to come out of this jam scot free, after all, you are the supplier and you are supposed to know your product (that's why you got the business). If your company comes forward discreetly and honestly, I'm sure you'll be able to work something out.
Good luck!
 
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David McGan

#3
Max, the situation became a problem with the advent of Chrysler's requirement for annual layout and the fact that a third party auditor would be confirming compliance. As stated before, I don't believe there is anyone associated in a knowledgeable way with the die casting industry -- including Chrysler Buyers or Quality Specialists -- that would think that all 200-300 dimensions of a part print would remain within specification tolerances during the entire life of a set of cavities. We're not talking about functional dimensions. Yes, those are covered on our FMEA, Control Plan, Die Construction plans, etc. Rather, the dimensions in question are generally radii, surface conditions -- all of which everyone agrees is a nonfunctional concern.

In answer to your questions:
1) If you are in the business of making dies that are high wearing, were they not designed to wear from the maximum down to the minimum (or vice versa depending on the part of the die you are looking at)? YES, OUR DIES are designed to optimize the life of the cavities to make functional parts.

2) Did the die wear surprise you? IN GENERAL, WE ANTICIPATE a cavity life of approximately 125,000 shots from dies making parts for a particular alloy. We have procedures in place to have replacement tooling built in a timely fashion, before functionality of the parts is impacted. However, the industry NEVER has operated under the assumption that ALL dimensions would remain 100% in compliance throughout the useful life of each set of cavities. (An analogy might be an automobile: An automobile does not retain 100% of its specifications throughout the useful life of the automobile). In many cases, with Chrysler, we have contacted them for replacement cavity money, and they have delayed the approval of those funds for several months, which results in some of our dies having to be used for double the anticipated life of the cavities.

3) Why does a nonconforming dimension have to only be found at the annual inspection? THERE IS EXTENSIVE tracking of functional dimensions. We check many dimensions reqularly during each production run. Die maintenance necessary to maintain these dimensions that might affect functionality of the parts is on-going.

Lastly, the customer is not an ogre that has to be fought, but a partner that should be consulted when you are in a jam. OUR EXPERIENCE WITH CHRYSLER would appear to be counter than what you might have experienced. We did go to them with this concern, but have found no one at this point who is willing to work with us as a partner to address this issue on a more global scale. However, we've made some additional contacts within Chrysler since my first post and I believe we are making progress. However, the world of die casting doesn't appear to be as simple as yours. In any event, I appreciate your comments.
 
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David McGan

#5
Well, since you asked, Mark....
We "resolved" the situation by implementing a procedure where we would notify Chrysler 30 days prior to annual layout that the layout was going to occur. And that when we did the layout, we fully expect to find some non-functional dimensions out of spec. At that point, Chrysler would have to be prepared to give us waivers before we would ship any additional parts. It's worked so far.
 
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