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Yaroslavl Motor Plant Avtodizel of GAZ Group: History of Success

Yaroslavl Motor Plant Avtodizel was founded in 1916 as a facility for assembly of passenger cars and medical vehicles for the fronts of World War I. Today, Avtodizel is part of GAZ Group, which is a major Russian manufacturer of commercial vehicles.

Avtodizel OJSC (YaMZ) specializes in the development and production of multipurpose diesel engines and power trains. Yaroslavl engines are fitted on more than 300 models of transportation facilities and special-purpose products manufactured by enterprises in Russia and the CIS. YaMZ engines are installed on commercial vehicles, line-haul trains, dump trucks, buses, tractors and combine harvesters, construction and road machinery, as well as diesel-electric power units.

Yaroslavl Motor Plant is implementing a number of large-scale investment projects for manufacturing products conforming to the highest world standards. The highest priority is given to the project associated with the production of medium four- and six-cylinder in-line diesel engines of the YaMZ-530 family with a power output from 120 to 320 HP in compliance with the Euro-4 emission class. Future compliance with Euro-5 and Euro-6 emission classes can be ensured. This is the first new diesel engine maker established in Russia in the past 40 years, with a level of equipment and automation matching that of the global automotive industry leaders.

A new production site with advanced equipment was constructed and launched as part of the project implementation in 2011. It employs an almost full cycle of engine production, including processing of body aluminum parts, cylinder blocks and heads, crankshafts and camshafts. After assembly, engines are tested, painted, and shipped to the customer. Six- and four-cylinder engines, modifications 534 and 536, are used for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and delivered to Ural Plant, MAZ Plant, and LiAZ Bus-Making Factory.

Also, the contract assembly of OM-646 engines together with Daimler has been organized at this new site. These engines with capacity of 2.2 l are installed in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter commercial vehicles manufactured at Gorky Automobile Plant in Nizhny Novgorod.

From high accuracy of measurements to quality assurance and partner confidence

Cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, crankshafts, camshafts, and other engine components require high measurement accuracy. The requirements for dimension tolerances are so high that universal measuring means cannot guarantee reliable results; therefore, high-tech coordinate measuring machines are needed.

The supplied parts also need to be checked to ensure incoming inspection with regard to critical parameters specified in documentation.

Prior to production modernization, universal measuring means, such as hand-held instruments and measuring machines, had been used in the laboratory. ZEISS ACCURA has become the first coordinate measuring machine in the central measuring laboratory at the production facility.

The implementation of the YaMZ-530 project and joint project with Daimler made it necessary to select and purchase new measuring equipment, and the company issued a tender. Considering all the parameters and requirements for the tasks at hand, ZEISS CenterMax coordinate measuring machines were selected. Four coordinate measuring machines were purchased: for the cylinder block, cylinder head, body aluminum parts, and crankshaft. A high-precision machine was additionally purchased for the project with Daimler. Taking into account the tight schedule, together with OPTEC, necessary programs were developed simultaneously with the training of company specialists.

«Machines of this type are less dependent on temperature change and vibration," notes Denis Pozdnyakov, Head of Technical Department at Avtodizel OJSC.

When the contract production was initiated, Daimler’s specialists performed a site audit, and attention was paid not only to the availability of the required measuring equipment in the necessary configuration and measuring means, but also to the qualification of laboratory personnel.

«Reliable measurements are very important, because both we and our partners always impose very high requirements on the necessary equipment, techniques, and quality of measurements. In 2014, the quality of YaMZ engines was officially recognized at the international level: the quality management system of YaMZ-530 medium in-line engine production complies with the requirements of European standard ISO/TS 16949," adds Denis Pozdnyakov, Head of Technical Department at Avtodizel OJSC.

New technologies — new opportunities

In total, six coordinate measuring machines are in operation at the plant now: five at the new site, and one at the old one. Five similar ZEISS CenterMax Navigator coordinate measuring machines are installed at the new site. The only difference between them is that three machines have an error of 1.4 µm and two machines of 0.9 µm. Under certain conditions, one of them can take measurements with an accuracy of up to 0.7 µm and is used as a reference machine.

As part of the modernization, the plant obtained a turnkey solution. The whole configuration was determined by the specific tasks and parts at hand. The solution included positioning devices, loading systems, probes, and complex probe configurations.

Parts are sampled for measurements in accordance with a manufacturing technique. A special temperature-controlled room with constant temperature and a special temperature stabilization system is used for precise measurements. The laboratory employs trained coordinate measuring machine operators whose task is to check the surface for cleanliness, install the part into the machine, measure the part’s temperature and confirm that it corresponds to normal ambient temperature, and initiate a measurement program.

Each part has its own program, for example, some 9 operations along with 6 interoperation measurements are performed for the cylinder block of the 530 engine, and a separate program is provided for each of these measurements. Twelve probe systems are used for these operations. They are installed in a magazine and changed automatically. The probe systems are completely different: there are inclined probes, simple stars, or disk probes for measurement of grooves. If necessary, optional probes, probe systems, and extensions are purchased.

Special programs are written as required, for example, for the purpose of incoming inspection, when parts from various suppliers are inspected and it is necessary to check specific parameters rather than all drawing dimensions. Sometimes, when changes are made to the process or design documentation, the existing programs must be updated. This is performed by a specialist who received training in Germany at the Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology facility; he/she makes changes in the program and tests and approves them.

«The Calypso system makes it possible to visually examine a part directly in the course of developing a new program or making changes, which significantly facilitates the working process," notes a coordinate measuring machine operator.

Based on the results of the measurement program, the laboratory obtains a measurement record where parameters within or beyond the tolerance limits are indicated. Operators shall notify about deviations. The second task is to develop a statistical forecast for each parameter. It is necessary to track trends as to how one or another dimension varies from part to part so as to take preventive measures and avoid faulty production.

Thus, due to ZEISS coordinate measuring machines, the plant has automated its statistical product quality monitoring process and gained an opportunity to control it. This has resulted in an increase in product level because the laboratory and the production facility have more complete and reliable information.

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