Archive for December, 2008

The Five S’s System

December 16, 2008 by Ken

A view from an assembly shop manager…


At Setpoint we follow the 5 S’s system, as the shop manager here is my take on how we are able to implement this in our assembly shop.

  1. Sort – This is the hardest part for me.  I have a hard time throwing things away that could be very expensive or hard to get.  But, if I haven’t needed it in a long time, it ends up costing me more to store it than to buy it new when we need it.  By doing this you will free up more space, make your shop look more organized and less cluttered, make it faster to find what you are looking for, and end up costing your company less in the long run.
  2. Straighten – For this you need to find a place to put everything you have decided to keep.  Look around for the best place to put the item, once you find that place mark it with tape or outline it so everyone knows where to put it away.  This needs to be done with everything, make it so at a glance you can tell if there is something left out or not put back where it belongs.  Think of it this way, if you have a new employee you would like them to be productive as quickly as possible so they can start working without looking for the tools they need.
  3. Shine – Just like it sounds, keep it clean.  This could mean sweeping, putting tools away, or taking out the trash.  The more organized you are the less time it takes you to clean up.  It should look the same when you leave work as it did when you got there.
  4. Standardize – This could mean using all the same brand of drills or tools so they are interchangeable and you can replace them as they wear out;  using the same vendors so they are familiar with your shops lay-out and how you like things, and where to put the items they are delivering.  Also, by using the same assembly and staging methods each time, this will help everyone get accustomed to the rules and guidelines your company has set up.  These guidelines can be followed without thinking about it or asking someone where to put a tool away.
  5. Sustain – This is another hard one because when you have a lot of work to get done you tend to skip over some things that may not seem that important at the time.  When you let this happen it can get out of hand very fast, making a habit of cleaning and putting things away makes it easier to maintain them.  This is critical to the five S’s system; if you let it slip you end up doing the first three over and over.  Don’t be afraid to change something that just doesn’t feel right, find what works for you and your company.
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Industrial Automation Examples

December 1, 2008 by Kara

We have had some questions lately as to what types of industrial automation Setpoint is capable of so below I have listed some of the capabilities that Setpoint has.

Filmless X-Ray Inspection Machine

We developed a non-destructive test and inspection machine using filmless x-ray technology.  This automated testing system was integrated on a high volume assembly line with complex equipment.  It was inserted in an already lean facility without any problems.  The end result was reducing wasted floor space by 75%, combining two machines into one automated machine, and decreasing labor minutes per unit by 50%.  Follow our link to learn more about filmless x-ray inspection using real time radiography.

Flexible Manufacturing Systems

A specific client needed a flexible torque station that would be able to accommodate quick model changeovers and be able to be modified for future growth and development.  The nesting system was developed so it could be swapped out in less than 30 seconds without needing any tools.  The end results were an auto cycle rate of 3-5 seconds, 30 second tooling changeovers, and orientation part sensing.  You can see a photo of the machine and more details about this flexible assembly equipment.

Turnkey Automated Swage Machine

We developed a hydraulic tube swage machine that came with quick change tooling, was able to process a wide range of bottle lengths, had a vision system verification of final product, and positive head pressure that prevented pump cavitations.  This swage machine had a high overall efficiency and a cycle time of less than 7 seconds per part.  This is another example of how custom automated machines can help increase efficiency and speed.

Lean Production Systems

We have many cases where lean automation and production were critical to the success of the project.  In each system we ensure that turn-key solutions can fit in as little space as possible while maintaining high quantity output and quality.  Tooling changes that can be done quickly ensures the systems are flexible.  A few examples of lean production systems we have developed are the real time radiography x-ray inspection and pyrotechnic powder loading and assembly machines.

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