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Hughes recently announced that it hit a major milestone: two million JUPITER™ terminals manufactured and shipped from its Shady Grove, Maryland facility. The manufacturing team reached this record number earlier than planned by deploying new manufacturing equipment and improved processes.
“We initially planned to start robotic assembly on the latest version of JUPITER terminals, but were fortunate to be able to introduce it during the build of our first generation terminals,” explained John McEwan, senior vice president, Operations. “As a result, we gained early learning and cost efficiencies; robotic assembly was a significant process change during the second million units.”
In addition to robotics, there were other changes that contributed to improved efficiency and reduced cost, including the introduction of Form in Place, or FIP, gasketing. FIP is a process that involves applying liquid rubber to a mating surface; when cured, it forms a permanent leak-proof rubber gasket. The FIP process replaced the hand assembly of two monolithic gaskets―reducing costs by 400%. It also reduced a problem in the field that occurred when old monolithic gaskets came loose and had to be replaced during installation at customer sites. Another improvement introduced by the team is 2D Laser Marking for key components during all steps in the manufacturing process of semi-finished and finished assemblies. This allows for better component and product tracking and traceability.
“The Manufacturing Team has done an outstanding job supporting and moving from one million to two million terminals. We look forward to three million and beyond,” said McEwan.