Have you maximised your opportunities for fast changeover?
Line change-overs are non-productive time and in a world of increasing complexity and product variants, the amount of changeovers increases and so lines can spend significant amounts of time not producing product. This reduces capacity and increases cost.
There are three parts to a changeover; clean-down, set-up and start-up, and all can be improved through the application of operational excellence techniques and product and equipment design. There are four steps to consider and many opportunities with each:
Eliminate non-essential operations: for example standardise component sizes, reduce the range of tooling, equipment modifications like adjusting only one guard rail instead of two.
Perform external setup: for example have all of the change-over materials and equipment ready before you start, use pre-assembled modules.
Simplify internal set up: for example use quick couplings, scribe marks, jigs, hand knobs rather than nuts and bolts.
Measure and improve: continue to look for opportunities, hone your process and keep training. A changeover should be like a racing car pit stop.
This is the seventeenth of a series of 20 blogs giving a view of methods to deal with packaging complexity. Please help me improve the thinking by adding your comments and share this with others who may have a view.