As a Trusted Disruptor, L3Harris seeks out innovative solutions to meet ever-changing business demands and to achieve the organization’s goal of long-term strategic growth. L3Harris’ Jefferson Road Operations Center (JROC) has worked to drive faster reaction speeds to deliver high quality products in shorter lead times through the development of the Smart Manufacturing Cell project.
JROC is a key site for the company, manufacturing tactical radios in a high-mix, high-volume production system. In 2020 the JROC team kicked off several workshops focused on two key questions: “What is Transformation?” and “How does that differ from incremental improvement?” During 2021, the team defined how the business would transform through investment in new technologies, key initiatives that minimized waste and engineering projects focused on a sustainable, safe and efficient employee workplace. These transformation drivers collectively became the key components of the “Smart Cell” concept, which was further refined through several workshops and submitted for approval in January 2022.
The Smart Manufacturing Cell project is a fully controlled, paced production line capable of building 45 radio variants in six handheld product families. The smart cell compresses three separate work cells for these products into one mixed-model continuous flow line that embodies one-piece flow, automation, real-time monitoring and part traceability. Each workstation incorporates new technologies such as augmented reality and integrated control systems to drive quality at the source, significantly increase build standardization during unit assembly and to deliver higher throughput with reduced footprint and energy usage. The smart cell has been designed to scale to other products within the same family and will act as a beacon for future transformation projects at JROC and across the enterprise. The operations and manufacturing engineering teams at JROC are working to launch the smart cell in production in the second quarter in 2023.
“Automation and digital technologies working in harmony with lean principles power our new approach to manufacturing. It is an essential evolution to meet our commitments on employee safety, product quality and generating shareholder value.” Balaji Suresh, Vice President, Communication Systems, Operations, L3Harris