SR. MANUFACTURING ENGINEER, TRANSMISSION PRISMATICS, GENERAL MOTORS POWERTRAIN
Catching up with Jason after IMTS 2016
Jason came to IMTS 2016 with a list. The list included: touch base with contacts, review additive manufacturing, check out tooling, and more.
And he wasn’t the only one with a list. From his group at General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, Jason was one of seven individuals who attended IMTS 2016—all with their own lists.
“Our group got everything done we needed to at the show,” Jason said. New contacts were made and answers to outstanding questions were pursued. “Time at IMTS allows for inquires and challenges that had been pushed to the backburner to be pushed up to the front,” he noted.
Upon returning to Pontiac, Michigan, Jason and his group shared their newly gained knowledge through a presentation for the entire division. The methodical deconstruction and dissemination of information didn’t stop there. Each group of engineers began the process of following up on each of the new technologies to determine viability for GM Global Propulsion Systems.
“At this point, which is early in the process, everything we saw – new products and technologies – is under consideration,” Jason said.
Much of the work Jason did at IMTS won’t impact production for several years. “We’re working to evaluate viability at this point,” he explained. “For a company like GM, durability is paramount.” The research the team brought back from IMTS may start to be seen in the production line around 2020.
Tying original inquiries that started at IMTS 2016 to tangible improvements years down the road is important to Jason and his team. “IMTS provides value to us as engineers,” he said. “The post-show presentation helps to demonstration the investment in sending us to Chicago is well worth it.”
IMTS 2018 will be here before you know it. And it will undoubtedly provide more value for GM Global Propulsion Systems, as they continue to push for new solutions on their production lines.
Gearing up for IMTS 2016
While General Motors is a goliath in the industry, it is built on the passion of individuals like Jason Biehl.
As a senior manufacturing engineer with GM’s Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering, Jason brings curiosity and enthusiasm to his work developing innovative solutions in the automotive industry. Attending IMTS feeds his curiosity.
Preparation is key to Jason’s experience at the show. He seeks and welcomes information requests from peers concerning particular supplies and products. He then uses these queries to carefully plan for the precious hours he will have on the show floor.
Since 2010, Jason has attended the show as the designated engineer for his group. Tasked with homework from his own group, Jason spends a few days at IMTS with several other GM Powertrain engineers. “The dynamics of the group are pretty wide in range,” Jason explained. “Traveling with engineers who I don’t work with frequently is interesting, and it makes it an insightful experience.”
While each attendee compiles information on the show floor and explores the far reaches of IMTS, they come together for meals to exchange highlights and share ideas.
For years, Jason has been watching the development of noncontact measurement. The long wish list of industry developments he hopes to see includes an inline, automatic, noncontact, quick, precision measurement system that GM Powertrain engine and transmission machining facilities can employ without removing a part from its general process flow.
Every time I have attended IMTS, I’ve been blown away by the innovation and technology the show brings together.
“We have to hold our tolerances to fractions of a thousandth of an inch,” Jason explained. “I’m waiting and watching for the industry to get there. In 2010, the accuracy wasn’t there, but notable strides have been made in metrology, and I’ve gotten to see that at the show.”
In an operation as automated as GMs, process flow is critical and tracking within that system is a challenge. IMTS 2014 provided a solution. “We are always looking for ways to track parts. We need to know where a part went, when and what happened to it,” Jason said.
Jason hopes to experience the show in 2016 with more of his team, specifically his boss. “He is a super wealth of knowledge, and I would like to walk around the show floor with his 30-plus years of experience and the library of information in his head.”
Being a global manufacturer, GM Powertrain, as with all manufacturing at GM, asks a lot of its equipment. That includes operating at high speeds under varying conditions. “When we look for solutions, they need to fulfill expectations of flexibility and efficiency, while increasing quality, performance, and exceeding our customer’s expectations,” Jason explained. “Our customers include not only people who purchase a Chevy Cruz or Colorado but also the program engineers and assembly line workers who build those vehicles.”
Looking forward to the next show, Jason’s IMTS list is growing quickly to include virtually every pavilion of the show. For Jason, IMTS 2016 is a presentation of possible solutions to prepare GM for the future of automotive manufacturing.
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