Customers purchasing DEF Tanks from Elkhart Plastics, Inc. (EPI) South Bend are receiving high quality parts with traceability back to manufacturing and quality testing with the company’s DEF Tank assembly process.
The company received Industry 4.0 Consortium’s Most Innovative Automation in Manufacturing Implementation Award for its DEF Tank manufacturing and assembly process.
A Technologically Advanced Operation
EPI South Bend operates a production cell designed by Engineering Manager Glenn Howard that utilizes a process guaranteeing a high degree of error detection and prevention. It ensures all products are assembled and tested per customer requirements.
The cell employs a networked control system with barcode scanning that automatically records data and ensures each assembly process and quality check are completed before the product can move forward. This innovative system prevents any product that missed a step or failed a test from being shipped by blocking the printing of a shipping label and the generation of a shipping bill of lading.
A unique serial number is generated and etched onto each part. All data collected through the assembly and testing process is automatically collected and tied to the serial number in a searchable database. Information collected includes fastener tightening torques, testing results, critical component serial number, and manufacturing information.
Impact: Quality Control and Traceability
With the new system, quality is improved and assembly cost has decreased.
“The assembly process is smooth and easy for employees to follow, offering little room for error,” Jack Welter, CEO of EPI, says. “The process allows for maintained workflow and increased efficiency.”
Additionally, the quality team can retrieve all manufacturing data to confirm the part was assembled and tested correctly.
DEF Tanks at EPI
EPI is one of the country’s largest producers of diesel fuel tanks. We work with customers to design and manufacture tanks from scratch or to modify existing designs to improve quality. EPI also offers a proprietary line of DEF tanks in sizes ranging from five gallons up to 15 gallons.
Interested in discussing your DEF tank project? Contact us.