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FPE & Gatwick Newsletter -Spring 2000     

Concurrent Engineering in the Special Purpose Machine Process

FPE was founded in 1969 on its present site in Brighton. Thirty years ago the company was a manufacturer of resistance welders, but quickly the product line grew to include custom-manufactured special purpose machinery.

FPE prides itself on the concurrent engineering process of its special purpose machinery. This process begins with the customers' requirement for new machinery. If the project is welding based, FPE performs sample welding trials to determine the best method of achieving the finished product. At times, customers have specifications in mind for the particular machine, while at other times the customer has an open mind and blank sheet design begins.

Following agreement of requirements, FPE engineers develop and produce concept proposals. These proposals are then submitted to the customer. After some continuing dialogue with the customer, FPE finalises the concept and submit a detailed project proposal with quotation. Following successful order procurement, a project programme that marks major milestones in the process is produced.

Customers are encouraged to dialogue with the engineers during the entire manufacturing process. The concurrent engineering process begins as the design and manufacturing teams work in conjunction to gain a comprehensive engineering prospective on the project.

Designing a new machine can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months depending on its complexity. As each modular element of the machine is designed, it is approved by scheduled design reviews and is immediately manufactured.

The assembly phase gets underway as soon as the project begins by assembling the framework of the machine and subsequently each modular part that is manufactured. These modular machine parts are being assembled at the same time as the other parts are being designed and manufactured. With the design, manufacturing, and assembling phases occurring in parallel, the different functions are working in conjunction throughout the entire process of manufacturing a new machine. After the machine has been completely assembled, it enters the testing phase of the process. When testing is complete, the machine is commissioned and acceptance trials begin at the FPE facility. Acceptance trails are then carried out at the customers' facility immediately after delivery of the machine.

The entire process can take anywhere from 4 to 40 weeks and all machines carry a 12 month warranty. If your company has a special purpose machine in mind, contact FPE for proposals and quotations.


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