Monthly Archives : May 2019

Continuous Improvement Always Get Better Speedometer 3d Illustration

Improving your Machine Shop

A machine shop can be compared to the parts that are manufactured on a daily basis, with many moving parts, all of which needs to work together in synchronized processes to achieve the maximum efficiency in a machine shop. It’s a delicate balance to keep the machines running at tiptop condition and all the employees working efficiently as well.

 

Keeping Your Processes Updated

 

Machine shops of all kinds need to be aware of current trends and standards in their industry to increase your efficiency in the CNC machine shop. The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT is a relatively new process to help revolutionized the way that we look at different prototype designs. It also monitors the specific customer feedback to newer products and with the rise in mobile connectivity; it leads to more networking possibilities. It also has a high level of connectedness between all of the equipment and machines on the shop floor.

 

Employee Education

 

All employees in a machine shop should be properly educated on the OSHA requirements that need to be followed in order to reduce employee injuries that lead to downtime. The employees should be aware of the workplace hazards for their particular part in the machining industry process and how to operate all machines safely in the manufacturing shop that they use on a daily basis.

 

Quality Control

 

The last step in most manufacturing processes include quality control checks to make certain that all parts in a product are the correct size and items such as pumps operate correctly. If your employees are trained correctly to do their jobs, there will be little errors in the final product. However, if one employee makes a mistake more than once, you can have them re-trained so this doesn’t keep happening. Making another component or part to replace a defective one costs your machine shop extra materials, time and labor and can be very costly. On the other hand, the QC inspector may actually notice that a setting on the CNC machine needs attention by finding inaccuracies in the products made.

Examining the Workflow

 

The process of examining the workflow in your local machine shops can lead you to realize that it is not running as efficiently as it could be. You may be able to improve your daily operations significantly after an inspection by analyzing your shop processes. Lean manufacturing processes are the route that the product travels through a machine shop in the manufacturing stages. For example, if parts are produced in a CNC Machine Shop and the process starts at the front of the shop, then the part moves to the back of the shop for the next phase in the process, then time is being wasted by the two workstations not being next to each other in the shop. It may not seem like a lot of time to walk several hundred feet from one area to another–but it all adds to the inefficiency of the entire workload in your shop. The best idea is to figure the route that is most commonly used for the majority of materials you produce in Local Machine Shops and place the machines accordingly.

 

Collaborate with Full-Time Employees

 

It’s a great idea to talk to your employees with the most tenure that are full-time employees. These people will have the best ideas to help you to decide about any changes that need to be made in your local machine shops. Most employees will just do their job and not create waves, but if you ask them for their opinion, you may find a goldmine of information to draw on and increase proficiency by leaps and bounds. This strategy also strengthens your bond with employees and encourages input from teammates in the future that will help the machine shop.

 

Keep Realistic Deadlines

 

When bidding on a job, make the deadlines for the products realistic. Employees don’t want to work so many hours that they have no family time to themselves and even if they are paid well for the overtime, they will eventually tire out from extra long hours on a daily basis, which leads to more workplace accidents. Planning the deadlines correctly will give you a bit of leeway in the deadline to account for machine downtime and employee sickness if they should arise.

 

Upgrade Machining Tools

 

For Quality Manufacturing you can upgrade your machining tools to take advantage of the newer processes of additive manufacturing and 3D printing to reduce the costs and time of having to do custom tooling by hand. These types of tools will cost you in the beginning, but your largest budget is usually the tooling needs and in the future when the tools are paid off, it will pay for itself in the lower amounts that you pay employees for labor and the time saved.

 

Routine Maintenance

 

Routine maintenance, preventative maintenance or PM, helps keep all of your equipment in functioning order in your Manufacturing Shop. It’s best to have all machines examined at the beginning of the workday to see if they are operating correctly and have employees fill out check lists. It’s much less expensive to have specific intervals for routine maintenance than to have a major setback when a machine goes down. Downtime is not only expensive because you need parts and labor right away, but the parts may not be available for a few days, which will delay you reaching your deadlines and it could cost you future jobs from a customer.

 

Machine Downtime is Your Enemy

 

Machine downtime is the leading cause of inefficiency in any machine shop. You can make some decisions if you keep good records on all the machines and tooling devices in your shop. Make a record of machine downtime on each machine and find the cause of it. Keep records on how many machines are down and for how long. If one goes down often and it has the scheduled maintenance that it requires to be up and running, you may think about a replacement instead. You can assign team members from a different area to do the inspections as they may notice something that isn’t right on a machine that took a long time to surface, whereas the member that uses the machine daily may not notice because the inefficiency occurred over quite a bit of time. Also, make note of the corrections that were made and if they were efficient or need to be changed.

 

Following these ideas can help your machine shop to operate efficiently by timely operations and lower labor costs, extend the life of your machining tools and help to keep great team members on board with you.

5S. Kaizen management methodology. Workplace organization method that uses a list of five words.

Enhancing Workplace Safety with 5S

5S is lean Six Sigma approach designed to reduce waste and maximize productivity by keeping an orderly workplace and achieving consistent results that can be checked via visual cues. Implementation organizes the workplace within its existing framework, and this is the first step toward a lean Six Sigma effort. However, in an advanced manufacturing environment, there are many benefits to adopting these practices outside the formal Six Sigma system.

Benefits of 5S in an Advanced Manufacturing Environment

Developing consistency and organization leads to a conscientious attitude and a safer, more efficient workplace. Conversely, when defects and waste aren’t measured and controlled, costs begin to pile up. Here are some examples:

  • Output falls short due to variations between crews.
  • Utilization is reduced due to longer-than-expected product changeovers.
  • Missing parts make it necessary to rush in a new one

Companies try to guide improvements via Six Sigma, Lean, or Total Productive Maintenance programs. However, studies show that up to two-thirds of such efforts fall below the expectations of stakeholders. Learning these methods is easy, but putting into action is not due to the following:

  • Process improvements decline.
  • Continuous improvement isn’t realized or prioritized.
  • The initiative isn’t global enough.

5S is One Solution

Companies like Danaher and Toyota went through the 5S program to develop positive cultures. 5S engages people to contribute to a visually-oriented organization, where cleanliness facilitates increased safety, productivity, and quality.

5S forms the foundation for more disciplined actions. Workers who put their tools back in place are more likely to follow production standards. Its visual nature makes it easy to spot items that are out of place. It lays the way for continuous improvement and provides:

  • Cleaner, safer work areas with fewer tripping hazards
  • Less wasted time searching for tools and materials that are more accessible
  • Unneeded items are eliminated so that less floor space is required
  • Improved self-discipline fostered by the visual nature of 5S, which makes abnormal conditions stand out
  • Improved culture due to 5S-motivated teamwork and motivation

What are the 5S’s?

The components of 5S are sorting, simplifying, systemic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining.

  • Sorting activities eliminate unnecessary items from work areas in order to clean it.
  • Simplifying arranges the work area for safety and efficiency.
  • Systematic daily inspection of facility and equipment helps determine if corrective action is needed.
  • Standardizing makes abnormal conditions stand out so that the workplace organization is sustainable.
  • Sustaining aims to keep current improvements to allow further progress to be made.

Implementing 5S

5S is not a housekeeping activity. Instead, 5S has to be a team effort and everyone should be able to tell instantly what’s out of place. With organization forming the crux of 5S, it’s vital to start with getting rid of unneeded items.

Sorting

During this phase, employees can sort and clear their work areas. This can take weeks in each department as everyone works to establish criteria for what to throw out. Much like cleaning your closet, anything not used for a year can be removed or put in a holding area. Disposing of uneeded items may mean transferring them elsewhere in the company, selling or discarding them. Then, the employee can conduct an initial cleaning.

Simplifying

Simplying gives everything a home and places each item in order of efficiency. Frequently-used items, for example, have to be close to where they’re used as possible. To accomplish this task:

  • Pick a spot for each item arranged in order of frequency of use and take safety precautions into account.
  • Label items so that there’s a home for everything.
  • Create a process to replenish supplies.
  • Document the equipment, layout and plan to replace supplies.

Systematic Cleaning

Systematic cleaning creates a document that enables inspection of the area. Everything should be swept, mopped and dusted and kept neat and clean with rags or brooms. Daily cleaning and inspections should be easy. Inspections include:

  • Identify points to check.
  • Define acceptable condition.
  • Mark equipment that has visual indicators such as gauges.
  • Conduct cleaning and visual check parameters.

Standardizing

Standardizing ensures that all workers understand the expectations.It is the workplace team that establishes the set of standards they will follow. It’s crucial that everyone has some involvement. Here are the steps to standardize the 5S processes.

  • Establish a checklist for the work area. The checklist should show everything the team checks during self-audits.
  • A multi-level audit system helps to make sure that the organization fulfills the overarching 5S goal of sustaining the work areas so that the system can evolve to more stringent controls and process improvements.
  • Establish and document a single source of truth as to the 5S processes for the company
  • Add new standards to the master document.

Sustaining

Sustaining is considered the hardest “S.” However, it shouldn’t be if you let the 5S system work for your advanced manufacturing company. At this point, you should have engaged everyone in the work area during 5S activities and have a “tell at a glance” visual workplace. If this is so, then sustaining is much easier. That is important, but not sufficient. A more systematic way to prevent backsliding and to foster continuous improvement is needed. The steps of sustaining are:

  • Define the 5S overall grade.
  • Perform routine 5S checks via the 5S checklist.
  • Address new opportunities that are uncovered during routine checks.
  • Conduct scheduled, routine checks by supervisors or someone not directly from the work area in the machine shop that is being inspected.

Perform higher-level audits to evaluate how well the 5S system is working overall. For example, are there systemic issues with sustaining 5S? Often, the company’s safety committee is an excellent body for conducting these audits.

When you develop sustaining activities everything that follows becomes part of the 5S process and future refinements. When items are returned to their place, the entire operation is smoother. When something is out of place its cause is probably that the organization needs to be tweaked so that it’s convenient. The work team should be the ones who safeguard the sustainability of 5S and improve morale, safety, and productivity.