Wright Bus Visit 2016 @wrightsgroup

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On Friday Friday 16 September 2016, AS Technology & Design pupils together with Mr Palmer and Mr Fields, visited Europe’s leading independent bus manufacturer – Wrightsgroup in Galgorm, Ballymena.
A tour of the factory floor gave us an insight to the many processes and stages involved in bus manufacture. This included composite moulding, various joining methods, painting and electronic installation on the production of both double decker and single decker buses. Many of the stages were demonstrated by our excellent guides, David and Ian.

 

 

 

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Tours of fully and half manufactured buses were very interesting, as this is rarely seen. It was really special to be able to board the new London routemaster. A true triumph of design and manufacturing. We also saw how the chassis must be painted with and electrolytic paint to prevent galvanic corrosion. This was fascinating as we had learned about the phenomenon in class but not seen a real life application and prevention method.
We saw first hand examples of how production processes can be made more efficient. Wrightbus is very keen to optimise every aspect of their business. They strive to improve their lean manufacturing. This means that every aspect of the business and manufacturing processes are scrutinised to insure time nor resources are wasted. Even turning off the lights and the compressors are encouraged.

An important role on the factory floor is carried out by “runners”. These employees are tasked with making sure that the fitters never run out of parts. They pick the parts that are needed for each job and deliver them to the location the buses are being built. This means the assembly work never needs to stop.

 

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It was interesting that “Just In Time” manufacturing is employed on the factory floor, i.e. the parts are only brought to the fitters when they are need, or “just in time” but a larger stock is kept in the factory. This is so that environmental conditions, such as recent cold winters, will not impact production. The plant also employes Cell Production which we have been considering recently in class.

 

The visit was thoroughly enjoyed by all, providing us with a fascinating insight into a very successful local company. Wrightbus has produced buses for Europe, Las Vegas, Singapore, India and Hong Kong.

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This trip was an invaluable experience for the sixth form Technology & Design students. Seeing the processes employed first hand made so much of what we learn in class come to life. We had no idea Quality Assurance could be interesting! 🙂

 

Thank you to all the staff of Wrightbus who made us feel so welcome. Thank you also for sharing your knowledge with us and giving up your time so that we might learn so much from our visit.

 

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