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By: David Howard | G+

Electrical contacts help keep the Harley Davidson production lines moving

Since its start at the turn of the last century Harley Davidson has been an emblem of American innovation and manufacturing. For 100+ years, since William S. Harley and the Davidson brothers first motorized a bicycle, the company has continued to evolve and reinvent itself. It’s seen its post WWII hey day, its troubled times in the 70’s, and it’s rebirth in the late 80’s.

Today Harley Davidson is a manufacturing leader

After a stumble in the 1970’s, due to new ownership and increased competition from less expensive offshore motorcycles, the Harley management and family bought the company back and reset its course. No improvement was too small and no change too big. And one of the first big changes was how Harley Davidson motorcycles were manufactured.

The "new" owners adopted updated management principles, new manufacturing technology, and drastically improved the quality and efficiency of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Streamlined production lines and a heavy investment in automation helped Harley Davidson improve its quality and reduce inventory overhead. An investment in its workers and cooperation with its unions helped it create a strong organization focused on continued improvement.

Robots and automated assembly lines

Harley’s manufacturing plants were reoriented to accommodate continuous flow production. Assembly lines were configured into multiple U-shapes within each manufacturing location inside its plants. From the receiving of raw metals that are ground, laser cut, bent, and welded into shape; to the actual motorcycle assembly; what previously took days, weeks, or months could be completed in hours.

The latest, sophisticated manufacturing techniques help Harley continue its relentless pursuit of improvement. Suppliers such as ABB’s strategic partner Wolf Robotics help keep industrial robots at Harley running smoothly. Likewise hydro forming presses from Schuler’s Hydrap Pressen division have helped Harley solve design and manufacturing challenges. On the various assembly lines, conveyor systems keep fabrication running, and overhead cranes help workers move heavy engines and frames.

Motor controls assist in manufacturing

Motor control systems regulate the flow of power to motors. They’re standard components of most conveyor systems, industrial robots, cranes, sheet metal presses, and similar equipment. And you’ll find leading control OEMs (e.g., ABB, GE, Furnas, etc.) supplying these equipment manufacturers.

When the need for replacement electrical contacts arises, savvy purchasing agents will often choose replacement contacts from alternative suppliers. And when affordable, quality alternatives are sought, you’ll find replacement manufacturers like Repco. Repco manufactures and stocks compatible contact kit options for dozens of OEMs for more than 80 contactor series.

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2/17/2017 10:28:45 AM

~ Darrin

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