What is the ultimate result of improving efficiency in advanced manufacturing? The products coming out the door are of expected quality, in needed quantities, produced when needed, and margins are improved. Customers, stake holders, share holders and employees are all benefactors. This boils down to a competitive edge, a business that will survive through good and bad times, a sustainable business. How do we improve efficiency? By eliminating waste. The main factors of waste are, in terms of Toyota’s chief engineer Taiichi Ohno and the 7 (8*) wastes or “muda” of the Toyota Production System, also known as Lean Manufacturing:
- Transportation – Moving goods from point A to B (Between departments to 1,000’s of miles).
- Inventory – Anything more than what is needed just in time.
- Motion – Any movement of humans or machines that does not add value to the product or service.
- Waiting – Idle time when interdependent processes are not synchronized. Working slower. Rework.
- Overproduction – Creating more than is needed. Considered the “worst” kind of waste because it obscures the need for improvement by hiding deficiencies.
- Over processing – Putting more into the product than is valued by a customer.
- Defects – Products that are not right the first time.
- Creativity* – Untapped creativity. Failing to involve the work force in continuous design, development, improvement, and problem solving.
*Waste of Creativity ~2004 Jeffrey Liker
What areas can CIMCO Software be put to use as a tool to help eliminate waste?
In this article we’ll review how CIMCO software products can reduce waste in 4 of the 8 lean areas.
- Waste of Motion
- Waste of Waiting
- Waste of Defects
- Waste of Creativity
Waste of Motion
Extra motion of people or machines is waste, it does not add value to the product. 5 CIMCO products reduce waste of motion, in unique ways, when implemented correctly.
Eliminating Waste of Motion with CIMCO DNC-Max
The most basic way to eliminate movement is utilizing DNC-Max to perform file transfers at point of need using any of the following methods: remote request, windows client, web client or bar code reader. This eliminates the need for the operator to leave their work center to receive g-code programs required to run an operation.
Eliminating Waste of Motion with CIMCO MDM
CIMCO Manufacturing Data Management or MDM allows for access to all necessary production required documents digitally at the point of need, utilizing either a windows or web client. This extends the capabilities well beyond g-code programs to setup sheets, tooling information, photographs, pdf documents, quality documents, or any other documents that are helpful. In many cases these documents are accessed in multiple locations in a typical manufacturing environment including hard copies of drawings, manually generated tooling information, etc.
Eliminating Waste of Motion with CIMCO MDC
CIMCO Machine Data Collection or MDC, does two things that substantially reduces wasted motion. One of the means is by performing automatic data collection. By reading numerous states of a CNC or other related equipment such as in cycle (running), alarm, feed hold, current program number, job number, etc. the operator is saved the trouble of inputting these values electronically or manually. Many environments utilize some form of manual collection for all or part of these variables, often on sheets of paper collected and tabulated with great effort, so the information doesn’t just involve waste of motion, it is also subjective and could contain errors, omissions or approximations that are not accurate.
The second way that MDC eliminates wasted motion is by providing operators with a screen to input downtime reasons, scrapped part counts, or even quickly access other integrated applications using custom programmed buttons in their MDC Operator Panel. While this is a manual entry process, the choices are limited to only essential reasons and much less subject to error. Furthermore, they do not require additional processing to interface with other electronic systems such as MRP/ERP.
Eliminating Waste of Motion with CIMCO NC-Base
NC-Base is a light weight and very functional tool that allows access to G-Code programs and related files on the shop floor. By accessing these files at the point of use with a windows client, waste of motion is reduced.
Eliminating Waste of Motion with CIMCO Editor
CIMCO Editor is the industry standard G-Code editing tool. One of the roles it performs exceptionally well is a quick visualization of the G-Code tool path using the backplot feature. Most CAM software can visualize a CAM program, but the post processed G-Code program could contain flaws. CIMCO Editor’s backplot feature allows these flaws to be quickly discovered and eliminated, reducing the time it takes to produce a part the first time on a given make/model of CNC machine. The operator running a first time part that has had the g-code reviewed in CIMCO Editor backplot will require less steps to perform the vital proving process.
Waste of Waiting
Idle time, working slower than potential, or rework results in waste of waiting.
Eliminating Waste of Waiting with CIMCO MDC-Max
The synchronization of interdependent tasks is one factor in waste of waiting. Let’s say that your parts require some specialized finishing after the final machining operations. If the parts aren’t ready when anticipated we now have waste of waiting. CIMCO MDC provides actual data on how long it takes to complete a part on a given machine. This data becomes more and more valuable as a tool to fine tune scheduling and in the reduction of slower than potential work. Seeing the actual cycle times, setup times and other downtime reasons, we establish both a good idea of where we are, but also where we can be (more on this in Waste of Creativity) bringing us closer to zero waste of waiting.
Another way that waste of waiting can be reduced with MDC is by giving the ability to address variances in real time, as opposed to later after some data analysis. For example you can set anticipated times for things like setup and cycle times. When these anticipated times are exceeded by a given amount, notices can be sent out to individuals who can assist with the issue in realtime.
You can also greatly reduce the response time of your maintenance technicians by providing real time notices of breakdowns as well as aid the operators in the creation of a ticket describing the problem. This allows maintenance staff to prioritize based on the severity of the issue and the impact of the downtime.
Waste of Defects
When a product is not what the customer requires or fails to match the specification, you have waste of defects. Waste of defects results in costs as basic as problem solving to as severe as lost customers. For that reason waste of defects should be carefully addressed and considered to eliminate waste in advanced manufacturing.
Eliminating Waste of Defects with CIMCO MDM
The predominant role that CIMCO MDM plays is in the elimination of waste of defects. MDM offers a very extensive level of control over manufacturing data utilizing group permissions, machine groups, status, workflows, and access modes. By controlling manufacturing data on a need to know, mission critical basis, individuals are able to effectively perform their role while greatly reducing the risks of defects due to access to incorrect or incompatible information. Only approved programs that are specific to a machine or group of machines, can be accessed by individual group members authorized to work with those machines. During prototyping, first article or revision alteration, additional controls can be placed to eliminate waste due to accidental use of obsolete or unproven data. The waste of defects is eliminated by what is not seen (not mission critical), as much as by what is seen (mission critical).
Eliminating Waste of Defects with CIMCO MDC
CIMCO MDC provides critical data related to anticipated vs actual production. By collecting data automatically from machines and manually from the operators, the result is data that is reliable and actionable how many parts were produced and of those how many were rejected or scrapped.
Waste of Creativity
Not a part of the original mudas, waste of creativity has been embraced by lean manufacturing advocates as the 8th waste in the lean concept. Humans involved in your manufacturing business represent a tremendous potential to drastically improve or harm the business outcomes. As such failing to tap into their creativity and potential will have a drastic impact on value.
Eliminating Waste of Creativity with CIMCO MDC-Max
MDC builds awareness at all levels of what actually happens with a given operation, in fact it makes accurate calculation of Overall Equipment Effectiveness or OEE (the standard for measuring manufacturing productivity) possible:
With the goal of reaching an OEE of 85%, considered a realistic but fairly difficult number to attain. Employees can creatively problem solve, improve processes, and find ways to address issues that arise. Without a culture where employees are in a habit of this type of improvement, substantial waste of creativity will be present. Having a constant metric, OEE, gives everyone a very meaningful goal to work towards.
OEE calculations can be biased if the target cycle time is set too low, beating that number without compromising in other areas resets the bar for OEE. When breakthrough improvements are implemented even more production can become possible. This data can be efficiently analyzed with CIMCO MDC.
Eliminating Waste of Creativity with CIMCO MDM
In the previous section we talked about re-setting the bar for OEE by reducing the target cycle time. This process improvement is managed by CIMCO MDM. Manufacturing engineers and programmers work together to improve tooling, programming, fixtures and machining speeds to reduce the target (possible) time to produce 1 part. Mechanisms are in place in the form of an import queue with CIMCO MDM that allows improvements to be proposed based on changes to the g-code programs being altered, tested and imported back into the MDM software for review. When substantial improvements are made and validated the target cycle times can continue to be improved. Taiicho Ohno would be proud.
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