The Situation

General Electric is the largest North American manufacturer of diesel locomotives and wanted to reduce assembly times and decrease work-in-process inventories at its Erie, Penn., facility. In the past, GE had used overhead cranes to move locomotives from one workstation to the next.

The Solution

Align Production Systems designed and custom-built air caster transporters to be used in the assembly line for locomotives. Using air caster solutions, GE had the world’s first moving assembly line for locomotives which workers referred to as “the world’s largest air hockey table.” The 75-foot structures are floated on air by a single operator to the other workstations where the engine, cab, and other components are added. By the end of the assembly line, the locomotives weigh over 300,000 lbs.

  • High Capacity:The air caster transporters are capable of bearing the weight of a whole locomotive.
  • Maximize Worker Safety:The transporter’s low-profile design makes movements safer by not allowing workers to go underneath the locomotives.
  • Effective Transportation:The locomotives can be pushed across the facility floor, cutting out the need for overhead cranes.

The Results

After implementing air caster transporters, Align equipment helped General Electric boost its output from 17 to 22 locomotives per month – a 29% gain.

Take General Electric as an example of how air caster technology can increase productivity in your own facility. Contact us and talk to an Applications Engineer to find a solution for you.