Tag : lean manufacturing

Industry concept: Lean Manufacturing on computer keyboard background

5 Lean Manufacturing Principles Every Machinist Should Know

Lean Manufacturing principles are the way to improve manufacturing processes and can be applied to any production process. Every machinist should know these lean manufacturing principles in order to increase efficiency and help reduce costs. With the right lean manufacturing principles, US manufacturing can compete on an international level. There are five principles to incorporate: value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection.

Value

The value should be established early on in the CNC manufacturing process. In determining the value, machinists should look at the needs of the customer for the product. Other things to consider are the timeline, price point and if the customer’s expectations are going to be met.

Value Stream

After value has been determined, there needs to be an established process that takes the materials to the final product, known as value stream. Value stream is mapping out the steps it takes to complete the whole process. Every step needs be identified no matter what department it is in, whether it’s design, production administration, delivery or customer service. Once every step is determined, it’s necessary to go through the steps in order to find ones that don’t create any value and are wasteful. This process can be referred to as re-engineering, and helps better understand the whole organization. It’s important to identify inefficient inventory control, defects or bottlenecks in the process in order to make the system more lean.

In this step, determining everything of nonvalue is very important. It’s necessary to learn the difference between value and waste, and vendors may need to be consolidated. Purchasing supplies and components from one source may eliminate waste, since communicating with multiple people can use up time and money.

Flow

Once the waste has been eliminated from the process through value stream, the next step is to determine the flow of the remaining steps to continue to eliminate any interruptions, bottlenecks or delays. The steps need to flow smoothly. Sometimes it’s needed to look at all departments so they become cross-functional. This can lead to increases in productivity and efficiency, sometimes showing more than 50% improvement.

Pull

The idea of pull is to have the product ready for the consumer at any time, because the steps to make the product have become efficient and that product can be pulled when needed. This saves money for the manufacturing process because products don’t have to be stockpiled and there isn’t inventory just sitting there where people have to manage it.

Perfection

Lean is not just a one-time thing and, in order to achieve perfection and perfect value, the first four principles need to be looked at often and incorporated into the company culture. All employees should be involved in the process. Even though many of the processes are within manufacturing, other departments can still be involved. It may be necessary to repeat value steam and flow to create maximum efficiency.

When implemented correctly, lean principles will help improve efficiency and provide other values, such as increased workplace safety. Lean principles not only can be applied to manufacturing, but also different departments. By thinking outside the box, lean can be used to reduce fatigue in the manufacturing process, which can reduce injury potential. Not only does the company benefit from lean principles, but customers benefit as well.

Lean Manufacturing Waste

7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

One of the effective ways of increasing the profitability of any enterprise is through waste elimination. Processes can either add more value or massive wastes to the production of goods and services. The seven wastes of lean manufacturing came from Japan where there were referred to as “Muda.” The first step towards eliminating waste is understanding what waste is and the specific places where it exists in your processes. The wastes found in various manufacturing environments tend to be similar. Here are the seven wastes in lean manufacturing.

1. Overproduction

Overproduction refers to the process of manufacturing specific items before they are needed in the market. Overproduction is expensive since it hinders the uninterrupted flow of material and degrades the quality of products produced. Overproduction in industrial manufacturing is usually referred to as “Just-In-Case” manufacturing. This type of manufacturing will lead to significant storage costs, excessive lead times, and make it almost impossible to notice defects. The solution to this waste is stopping the production tap. You should only manufacture what can be shipped or sold immediately.

2. Transportation

The waste of transportation usually refers to the movement of items between different processes. This will involve the use of a forklift truck or similar equipment to move products around the factory. Transportation is a waste occurring as a result of overproduction. Excessive movement of products around the factory will cause harm and can also lead to deterioration in the quality of the products. The equipment used to move the products around the factory lead to another production cost that adds no customer value.

3. Over Processing

Over processing is extra work that adds no significant value to the consumer or business. Over processing is a waste that takes the form of adding unnecessary features to a product that the customer doesn’t use but raises the cost of production. A good example of over processing would be maintaining paint finish more tightly than required or building a product that will last for five years when you know that the customer will replace it after two or three years.

4. Excess Motion

The waste of excess motion is related to wasted movement and is evident in all cases of walking, stretching, lifting, bending, and reaching. Some of these issues are also related to safety and health which is becoming a major concern in today’s world. Technically, jobs that require excessive movement need to be analyzed and re-engineered for significant improvement with the participation of the industrial workers.

5. Excessive Inventory

Excess inventory is a waste representing cash that is tied up in the form of material which is technically difficult to turn into liquid cash quickly. Inventory eats up much storage at the manufacturing plant since it has to be managed and stored. It can also become obsolete leading to more waste. The quality of any inventory can undergo deterioration over time especially perishable goods such as rubber seals or food.

6. Waiting

The manufacturing waste of waiting hours occur whenever products aren’t moving or being processed. Waiting is perhaps the most common lean manufacturing waste of the seven. It is lost time due to poor flow of production process. Equipment breakdowns, part shortages, and bottlenecks can also lead to waiting wastes. Waiting can also frustrate the workers leading to reduced morale. The Goldratt’s theory of constraints states that every hour lost in a typical bottleneck is like an hour lost to the entire factory output which is impossible to recover.

7. Defects

Defects have a direct and substantial impact on the quality of products manufactured. Defects will lead to rescheduling, re-inspecting, and loss of capacity. The overall cost of defects is always a substantial percentage of the entire manufacturing cost. This waste can be reduced through continuous process improvement and employee involvement in the production process.

us manufacturing trends

5 Trends in US Manufacturing

The trends of US manufacturing are often discussed, but not always understood by the general public. With the changes in technology as well as executive attitudes, it can be difficult to keep up with it all. It’s time to learn more about what’s being taught today in mechanical engineering schools, and how the industry has responded to each new change in the market.

More Automation

The time-consuming and error-prone processes of the past are becoming automated. They allow companies to produce more without increasing their budget, and they give workers a chance to hone their skills rather than waste time on rote tasks. Every country has seen some rate of automation when it comes to their manufacturing, but it’s the US that has really embraced the technology. The effects are felt not just on the production floor, but also in administrative functions as well.

A Rise in Precision

Manufacturing today is all about precision. Considering even one mistake in a process can lead to disastrous results, companies are more focused than ever on ensuring everything is done correctly the first time. For example, CNC automation can use past commands and actions to ensure future accuracy and success. CNC machinery can work with practically any material to cut shapes and create the perfect dimensions for the right end result. US manufacturing schools are so obsessed with precision, they’ve taken to using just one digital representation of the product they’re designing. From the materials needed to the compliance regulations to the dimensions of the product, companies are looking to decrease error by narrowing down the scope of the product to a single image.

Sharper Focus

Manufacturing companies are always trying to get more out of the resources they have, but many are also reevaluating their resources so they concentrate on what they do best. Whether a company specializes in CNC manufacturing, mechanical engineering, or factory work, they’re looking to trim away any excesses so their focus in as singular as possible. This may mean anything from leasing their office to increasing their global presence. They may even choose to outsource work that’s not strictly related to manufacturing, such as HR, payroll, and benefits.

Global Options

The globalization of manufacturing has become an undeniable trend in US manufacturing, as companies form networks of support from all around the world. Now companies can easily find clients, communicate with them, and then transfer their products around the world. The more people connect from around the world, the more opportunities can be discovered about how to increase efficiency without sacrificing the quality of the goods. Manufacturing in the USA has certainly not been the only sector to profit from these changes, but it’s one sector that has really taken advantage of the opportunities.

Increased Support

The machinery used in the manufacturing industry has never been better than it is today, but that doesn’t mean that it’s infallible or everlasting. As automation continues, manufacturers will need to find the right tools and the right support team that can help them through all their questions and concerns. Ideally, manufacturers should be looking at forging a relationship with a company who understands a variety of industries as well as the full scope of current and future trends. This type of mutually beneficial relationship tends to bring out the best in manufacturers today.

air compressor

Who makes the best mid-size compressor?

Picking a decent air compressor depends on the project you’re working on, and if the unit should be convenient. On the off chance that a compressor unit can deal with the scheduled task, you’ll be inclined to work with that specific model instead of a massive, and difficult to deal with the model.

Most of the compressors on our list of preferred models are sufficiently small-sized and easily stored under a workbench, yet efficient for some tasks. Below are some of the best US manufacturing companies that have produced reliable compressors over the years.

Dewalt Heavy Duty PSI

The popular Dewalt brand has continuously manufactured in the US reasonably priced air compressors. The heavy-duty PSI is an oil-free model with a 12amps motor and has a flexible startup to reduce overworking the breaker. The 36-pound air compressor is portable and quite slim at only 12.5inches; therefore, it fits in any tight compartment.

The standard manufacturing design in the US brand compressor comes in black and yellow colors. It is slightly underpowered and cannot run consistently with the reduced power. Users may only use it for smaller jobs to avoid damage and more complications other than aging. It’s suitable for short to mid-sized jobs.

Porter Cable PC Pancake Compressor

The Porter air compressor is one of the least expensive air compressors on the list, and the lightest, weighing at only 26 pounds. Due to its compact size, it’s easy to use and store. With just 135 PSI, the Portable Cable PC compressor requires low maintenance since it runs on a 12v motor and puts out an impressive power. It is an oil-free pump with a longer life and minimum problems, even in cold weather.

However, this air compressor produces the loudest noise on the list, with an output of 82Dba. It is a reliable compressor for anyone in search of a stable US manufactured equipment made by top engineers from some of the best mechanical engineering schools. It offers long lasting service, if well taken care of.

Senco Horsepower Peak

Senco CNC manufacturing produces low priced portable compressors. This 20-pound Senco compressor handles small jobs and, it’s incredibly silent at 73 dBA and one complete horsepower. It runs ½ power at its peak to complete a task. The accessories include a ¼ quick disconnect coupler, individual tank gauges, and synchronized output pressure.

The manufacturers offer a one-year warranty of assurance. Long-term use degrades the covering around the handle, but it doesn’t deteriorate its overall usefulness. The manufacturing skill on this unit is flawless and performs best if handled correctly.

Makita Big Bore Compressor

This is a powerful, relatively low priced air compressor. It has an iron pump with big pistons and cylinder, a combination that provides peak performance when in motion over extended periods. The large Makita compressor with a 1,720-RPM pump is quiet and performs well even at lower RPM.

It comes with a one-year warranty, and, manufactured with a solid cooler running pump that lasts for several years. The 2.6-gallon tank weighed 52 pounds and labeled at 130 PSI with a ¼-inch universal quick coupler, which is easy to use. It’s listed as compact, but the manufacturing specs make it mid-range at 52 pounds. You need about 20 seconds to refill, so it’s still powerful considering the size that it comes in, though it cannot handle specific tasks and it lasts a very long time.

coolant

Coolants: Evolving to Support a More Healthful Machining Environment?

In CNC automation, knowledge of machine tool coolant is ever-evolving. At Tag Team Manufacturing, we have a stake in quality, including the environmental and health aspects of the materials used throughout U.S. manufacturing. Today we offer a rundown of the safety and performance improvements in coolants. 

Coolant is Essential

Metal cutting would be impossible without coolants of some type. Coolant is essential for moderating the temperature of tools, chips, and workpieces.

Yet a big concern surrounding coolants is whether they are safe for workers and the environment. Can coolant work well—without compromising health and safety? The answer is complicated, but progress is being made.

Mineral or Vegetable?

Innovations in cutting fluids are solving workplace hygiene problems related to tramp oils, by improving filtration performance. Traditional, petroleum-based cooling fluids would attract bacteria, as tramp oil mixed with debris tended to form a film on them. Managers would apply antiseptics, but those chemicals introduced further environmental health and safety issues, and could compromise metalworking performance.

Today’s coolant makers put an emphasis on vegetable emulsions in place of the traditional petroleum-derived fluids. Companies sell these newer products based on the fluids’ growing reputation for improved outcomes on the shop floors. It turns out the benefits of the innovations are environmental as well.

Beyond the Cheap Chlorine Mixes

Product developers once brought chlorinated paraffin into cooling fluids meant for application in nickel-based metals and stainless steel. The additive’s purpose was to bond under pressure, and create a lubricating film capable of withstanding high heat.

Chlorine alternatives, such as sulfur and phosphorous, tend to cost more. Today’s manufacturers avoid chlorine ingredients, and offset extra costs by recycling the fluids. Recycling systems are available from Eriez, PRAB, and Canada’s Custom Coolant Equipment corporation.

Additionally, we’re seeing innovative, ester-based coolants that take U.S. manufacturing workers’ safety and well-being to higher levels. These products significantly cut down on fume release, or misting. This is the way of the future, as Canadian suppliers recommend chlorine-free solutions, and in light of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent moves to restrict chlorinated paraffins in fluids marketed for manufacturing in USA workplaces.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Ester

The early, natural vegetable ester fluids lacked staying power. And, like petroleum-based fluids, they had an undesirable smell. Bio-stability was a key issue for the emerging products, because bacteria were attracted to the oils. But as Condat and others today develop synthetic esters, the chemical makeup makes these fluids practically bio-resistant.

Products based on vegetable esters, including Vasco, cost more up front, but pay off in performance. There is also Condat’s innovative MECAGREEN line. It uses a high-performance mix of synthetic, vegetable-based esters. Tool life is lengthened up to 20%, and the amount of product used can involve savings as much as 40% relative to petroleum-based fluids. Bonus improvements include smaller amounts of residue on parts, ease of cleanup—and a measurable difference in workplace skin issues.

Catch Up With Tag Team Today

Tag Team Manufacturing is an innovative CNC manufacturing company, dedicated to continuous improvement in the process of CNC machining.  Call us at 303-841-5697, or toll free at 866-915-2058.

six sigma

Can a Manufacturing Company Benefit from Having a Black Belt Sigma on Staff?

Modern CNC companies manufacturing in USA have taken up Six Sigma training for their staff, in an effort to boost productivity. The rigorous process employees undergo before receiving a Six Sigma certificate is essential in creating an all rounded company that not only has customer loyalty but generates numerous profits.

CNC manufacturing is a steadfast cornerstone of the manufacturing industry. Having taken root in the aerospace industry, automotive, bike, electrical, drone, health, music and environmental monitoring, CNC manufacturing is part of our day to day lives. Like any other company, a CNC automation company in the US seeks to increase profits and reduce costs. For this reason, the implementation of the Six Sigma is imperative in any US manufacturing company.

How Will a Black Belt Sigma Benefit your Manufacturing Company?

The Six Sigma training has six levels, hence the name. In second place from the top, is the Six Sigma Black Belt. This means that a trainee under the black belt program has already completed four stages. Here are some of the advantages of having the Black Belt certified employee in your CNC manufacturing company.

1.      Improved Communication Skills.

A Black belt trainee is aware of the client’s importance to the CNC manufacturing industry. This means that the client’s satisfaction should be the company’s aim. Good client feedback creates goodwill for the company, an intangible asset that lures more clients in.

More importantly, a Black Belt trainee is skilled in communicating changes that need to be effected. Instead of merely pointing out what needs to be done, the Six Sigma training advocates for coaching for precision.

2.      New Business Practices.

A Black Belt trainee has deep process knowledge, which makes him/her most suitable for coming up with better strategies to improve CNC manufacturing strategies. With advanced college degrees and years of experience in the industry, a Black Belt will demonstrate his critical thinking skills in managing resources within the industry to increase productivity without an increase in costs.

Team Leadership.

With years of experience and previous training, a black belt can lead a team towards a specific goal through constant motivation and effective listening skills. A Black Belts role in CNC manufacturing is indisputable, given the different contracts of manufacturing that are taken up.

More importantly, Six Sigma Black candidates are fun loving and passionate about what they do, which makes them effective team leaders. Remember that a team in a CNC automation is diverse and a neutral leader that recognizes every employees’ skills and capacity is crucial.

In the initial stages of developing a computer program, a Black Belt will keep a sharp eye to ensure that the program is accurate to minimize errors during manufacture.

Conclusion

With the right leadership, a Black belt will help the team achieve the intended goal within a planned time. Accurate programming ensures that all the stages of manufacturing are error-free since a computer gives what it receives. Apart from that, the team is put on high alert to watch out for any malfunctions and identify products that unsuitable for the market.

CNC machining companies should also remember that a Black belt candidate is a link between the company and the client. Any US manufacturing company should take up the Six Sigma training for their employees and reap numerous benefits.

manufacturing technology

New Manufacturing Technology Means Greater Value for Customers

The Factory of the Future, as it has come to be called, is all about lean manufacturing. One of the most important components of lean manufacturing is incorporating the latest and best manufacturing technology, including machining tools and robotic manufacturing.

At the moment, probably in part because they’re leery of another economic downturn, U.S. manufacturers have been slow to embrace many of the improvements now available. This is a mistake because these advances—and many more that are just down the road—make for faster, more durable, more precise and far more productive tools. At Tag Team Manufacturing, we believe these factors together translate into greater customer satisfaction.

Taking Advantage of Today’s New Tools

Incorporating faster, longer-lasting tools doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. So the cost of doing business doesn’t have to go up. In fact, the new technology can increase both productivity and quality, giving customers more for their money.

How does this work? The new technology can be implemented easily and inexpensively. Programming manufacturing machinery is simplified, resulting in:

• Reduced production times and greater production accuracy

• Reduced cross-training of operators and programmers

• Greater flexibility in operations, so one piece of equipment can perform a variety of functions

All these advantages reduce our costs and, consequently, costs to our customers without in any way compromising quality. This combination of lower cost and higher quality results in greater value.

The technological advances affect just about every aspect of the manufacturing process. They improve every step, from product design through production and even packaging. Each component of the process, including human and machine, is able to communicate more quickly and more accurately, creating an integration that greatly increases coordination and efficiency.

We at Tag Team Manufacturing look every day for ways to improve our lean manufacturing processes and so move closer to the Factory of the Future. We can see ahead to innovations that are on the horizon. What does the future look like?

The Tools of Tomorrow

What’s ahead in manufacturing technology tools looks great for both manufacturers like us and our customers. Our challenge is to meet the demand for value from our customers. This challenge will be met with:

• Machining that delivers ever more precisely and efficiently made products
• Software capable of increasingly sophisticated operations
• Shorter production time

So we’re looking at software and hardware on the road to greater and greater value. The progression includes further development of things like:

Source ( characters / words)

NTN Technical Review No. 74 (2006) http://advancedmanufacturing.org/advances-cnc-technology http://www.manufacturing.net/article/2012/02/10-trends-manufacturing-technologies http://www.industryweek.com/manufacturing-day/fast-forward-factory-future?page=1

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• Multifunctional machining tools that increase accuracy and reduce machining time while, at the same time, being able to produce products with more complicated shapes

• Control hardware and software that costs less but offers “intelligent” functions that turn information into more efficient and precise production

Not all advances in manufacturing technology apply to the work Tag Team Manufacturing does. But we’re keeping our eye on every improvement to make sure we deliver the best value to our customers.

lean manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing at Tag Team

At Tag Team, we believe that “lean” as a concept is more than just a way to streamline and simplify the manufacturing process. It’s a way to shine a powerful light on the areas of manufacturing that add value in a way that lets you support them and strengthen them. It’s a methodology that lets you get the right products into the right places at the right time. Most importantly, it’s a way to guarantee the type of competitive advantage necessary to be able to constantly grow and evolve within the ever-changing demands of the market as a whole.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

At its core, lean manufacturing is a concept built on the idea that if you take steps to identify and eliminate waste and overburden within a system, you immediately identify the core pillars that are truly adding value to your organization. It’s a philosophy that was spearheaded by Toyota during the 1990s and is also directly responsible for that company transitioning from a small, niche company to the largest automaker on planet Earth.

Lean focuses on eliminating three core types of waste from within the manufacturing process:

  • Muda. As a term meaning “futility” in its original Japanese, these are all the steps within your process that may get you the results you want, but in the least efficient way possible.
  • Muri. This is the type of waste generated by overburden. These are decisions that may have seemed great when you made them but that, over time, prevent you and your team from working “smarter, not harder.”
  • Mura. This refers to the waste in your process created by uneven workloads.

By overhauling a manufacturing process with an eye towards these three simple ideas, you don’t just improve the quality of the work you’re doing – you improve costs, delivery times, stability and absolutely everything in between.

The Lean Manufacturing Approach

At Tag Team, lean is the very foundation on which our entire manufacturing process has been built. We use one of the best manufacturing software systems available in the world today – E2 – to track everything from machine and employee efficiencies to material and labor costs. We automate wherever possible, allowing us to not only use technology to do things we couldn’t have dreamed of even 10 years ago but to free up the valuable time of our employees so that they can focus on the things that matter the most.

At the end of the day, lean manufacturing doesn’t just allow us to support our own growth and profitability. It lets us support yours, too.

Tag Team has over 30 years of experience serving customers just like you by way of a highly trained, passionate staff with a commitment to quality that is second to none. If you’d like to find out more information about how lean manufacturing can benefit your organization, or if you’d like to sit down and speak to someone about your situation in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact Tag Team today.