Industrial Solutions - ISI is a Lean Thinking consulting firm that specializes in utilizing Lean principles to improve efficiency and reduce costs for our clients. Our team was recently engaged by a manufacturing company to reduce set-up time on Machine #91, an injection molding machine to create their flip top bench product. The objective was to utilize the Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) method, a key aspect of Lean Thinking, to achieve significant improvements in set-up time, operator foot travel, and overall efficiency.
To achieve this goal, an ISI consultant led to group to implement several key changes. After the initial SMED training, the group went to the machine and documented a changeover. Every aspect of what the associates did: where they went, what tools were used, the process steps and their times, etc.
By using the SMED method, we were able to break down the set-up process into its individual components and then identify and eliminate waste, combine activities, rearrange steps, and simplify processes to achieve significant improvements in set-up time and overall efficiency.
First, the team pre-planned and staged molds, tools, and support items to improve the set-up process. They also added air ratchets and a step ladder to speed up the work and changed the sequence of work steps so that operators were not waiting on each other. They externalized mold pull prep, dropped bottom caps, and nozzles remained hot. In addition, we added some minor safety precautions such as a safety harness for the operator and a Lock-Out/Tag Out procedure. They also fixed equipment that was causing quality issues and updated all documentation for standard work.
The results were impressive. The changeover time was reduced from 330 minutes to 71 minutes, representing a 78% improvement. Operator foot travel was also significantly reduced, from 3723 feet to 744 feet, a reduction of 80%.
This example illustrates the power of the SMED method and the benefits of Lean Thinking in reducing set-up time and improving overall efficiency in a manufacturing setting. The results achieved by the properly trained and led team demonstrate the potential for significant improvements in productivity and cost savings for manufacturing companies that adopt these principles.
If you are interested in learning more about how ISI's Consulting Services can help improve efficiency and reduce costs at your organization, please visit our website at www.isiworld.net or contact Colin Reed at 918-906-5226.