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GEICO Gain Competitive Advantage Through Pre-developed, Configurable Simulation Models

APPLICATION: Process Configuration

VERTICAL: Paint & Pre-Treatment Processes

SECTOR: Automotive

BENEFIT: Through working with Studio Zeta and WITNESS, GEICO was able to quickly develop simulation models based on the customers’ requirements, enabling them to configure their J-Jump handling system to the exact needs of each customer.

GEICO S.p.A. based in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan, is a company that has a great industrial heritage as a leader in providing turn-key coating plants for car manufacturers worldwide.

For over half a century GEICO has worked internationally with some of the leading car manufacturers in the world, integrating its technology with existing systems, modernising obsolete production lines and building new turn-key plants.

GEICO offers solutions for all types of pre-treatment processes, using the best technology available, to ensure optimal treatment to prevent corrosion.

GEICO is certified by BSI (British Standards Institution) and applies a quality management system which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001: 2008, with reference to the design, supply and installation of equipment for painting and for environmental protection. GEICO implemented a 6-Sigma quality methodology for the pursuit of excellence in the business, focusing on the continuous improvement of products and customer service.

With Studio Zeta, GEICO wanted to develop a modular simulation solution to quickly generate dynamic simulation models based on the specific needs of its customers to evalute the design and operation of facilities.

INTRODUCTION
The initial planning phase of the project was conducted by GEICO alongside a selected customer, in order to verify the feasibility of the project, identify potential problems and optimize both technical and commercial solutions.

GEICO engineers need to certify the expected performance of a new facility, explain how it will operate, balance cost and performance, evaluate alternative solutions and demonstrate how the solutions meet customer requirements both in technical and business terms, considering the competitive and changing worldwide automotive market.

Customer requirements are often changing and solutions may result in numerous combinations of possible technical and operational solutions that require evaluation quickly.

In simple cases, where processes have few operational steps, and where production volumes and the product mix are predictable, traditional analysis techniques may be sufficient. However, as soon as operations become more complex, the traditional approach leads inevitably to inaccuracy and possibly to the wrong sizing of the plant. Over sizing brings unnecessary cost and can make the solution uncompetitive, under sizing results due to a lack of performance and the need for costly changes. This is why GEICO looked to a process simulation based solution, developed in such a way that it could become an integral part of their engineering design projects.

Interview with Daniel Raspone - Advanced Engineering GEICO
“When we decided to develop a method for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations, we looked for a solution that could help us to respond promptly and accurately to the demands of each customer, meeting its technical and economical requirements, which would be fulfi lled by our J-Jump handling system.

According to our company policy every employee here at GEICO is a specialist in their field. To maintain our efficiency and streamline our processes, we have a relatively small team of around 120 people based in Italy and we work with many third parties, all of whom are recognized for their excellence in their respective fields.

This helps us stay focused on our core business, without investing resources in activities that may be commissioned to others, who are already recognised as leading experts in their field.

Why did we choose Studio Zeta? The answer is simple: the solution offered by Studio Zeta, based on the simulation software WITNESS, which is used by many leading automotive companies, allows us to build “pre-packaged” and parameterized modules, which can be configured quickly, to follow the changing demands of the customer, enabling us to start the initial planning stage as quickly as possible. The modules are also integrated with Microsoft Excel, meaning that the data can be easily used by all the people involved, even if they have no prior technical knowledge of simulation.

So we are able to stress test quickly and accurately the plans for our potential customer, using a simulator, in a risk-free environment. The testing can include both technical and commercial parameters, providing the customer with the assurance that their choices have undergone a detailed analysis, demonstrating the dynamic behaviour of the entire system accurately, rather than being simply estimated using traditionally based “average” performance data, which would expose both GEICO and the pot ential customer to technical and economic risks. This approach has proved to be a competitive advantage for our company.”

Objective Given to Studio Zeta
Studio Zeta were approached by GEICO to provide pre-developed simulation modules which could be configured on customers’ requirements, enabling them to configure the J-Jump handling system to the exact needs of each customers.

What is J-Jump?
GEICO’s J-Jump is a modular and flexible transport system for pre-treatment plants and cataphoresis (Cathodic Electro Deposition of paint). It is particularly suitable for medium and large commercial vehicles, such as vans and truck cabs. The system can handle productions of up to 28 vehicles per hour, depending on the type of body and of the cycle required. The innovative concept of this handling system is the separation of the horizontal movement of the body during the immersion from movements for the removal of the vehicle body, for each individual treatment stage. This process ensures flexibility and efficiency of the system, both in terms of production capacity and of processing sequence.

How the Simulator Modular Works
Using Excel, the engineer chooses the sequence of modules that will make up the production line, defining all its features, such as speed of the conveyor, length, processing time etc...

The WITNESS model is able to import the data entered in Excel and automatically build the model of the production line, using the format chosen by the user. Then it executes the required simulation tests, to evaluate the chosen options.

By using the WITNESS QUICK 3D feature, a 3D navigable model can be built in a few seconds, allowing the user to explore a real world working model.

At the end of the simulation, the results are provided by WITNESS using Excel.

The simulation results are a major element of the technical report that has to be supplied to the customer, hopefully enabling them to select GEICO as their supplier, on the base of the accurate data provided by the WITNESS simulation model.

“WITNESS allows us to build “prepackaged” and parameterized modules, which can be configured quickly, enabling us to start the initial planning stage as quickly as possible.

Testing can include both technical and commercial parameters, providing the customer with the assurance that their choices have undergone a detailed analysis.”

Daniel Raspone, Advanced Engineering, GEICO


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GEICO S.p.A. based in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan, offers solutions for all types of pre-treatment processes, using the best technology available, to ensure optimal treatment to prevent corrosion, integrating its technology with existing systems, modernising obsolete production lines and building new turn-key plants.

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