chrysler 3d.automotiveIT

3D lets engineers see how parts are delivered to an operator in the "Golden Zone” (Photo: Chrysler)

Chrysler is using new 3D technology to plan for the launch of two new transmissions at its Kokomo, Indiana, factory.

The US carmaker, which is majority-owned by Italy's Fiat, said it is using a three-dimensional modeling system specifically designed for powertrain manufacturing.

The approach will help save money and improve the production process of Chrysler's new eight-speed rear-wheel drive and nine-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions in Kokomo, the company said. Chrysler is spending 1.3 billion dlrs on the development of the new transmissions.

Chrysler built the manufacturing model together with Michigan-based consultancy Strategic Manufacturing Solutions.

Brian Harlow, head of global powertrain manufacturing engineering at Chrysler, said 3D helps engineers identify design issues they might miss in a two-dimensional drawing. That helps to fix or address issues before the actual equipment arrives at the plant.

"Three-dimensional modeling allows us to make our actual investments as late as possible in the launch process," Harlow said at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, this week.

Chrysler said it is using 3D layouts to help figure out where racks and materials should be positioned to bring parts to operators in the so-called Golden Zone, a 60-degree window that is ideal to present parts.

The technology also allows the company to quickly exchange information between plants and machine tool builders around the world.