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Make no mistake -- lean manufacturing is here to stay. And no wonder. As a fiercely competitive global economy continues to alter companies’ “Main Street” thinking, that relatively new dynamic is spurring the need for “I-need-it-yesterday” production output. And for increasingly more industries -- big or small -- that means getting as lean as you can, as fast as you can.
Google “lean manufacturing” and you will find a virtually endless font of information regarding formal lean implementation. You’ll see definitions for Japanese words such as kaizen, gemba, muda, mura, kanban, and so on. You will also find other variations or iterations of lean, e.g.: Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, TPS (Toyota Production System), TOC (Theory of Constraints), JIT (Just in Time), and others.
Job shops may be ill-advised to undertake a complete reorganization into FLEAN (Flexible and Lean) cells. A FLEAN cell would (i) be flex-ible enough to produce any and all orders for parts that belong in a specific part family and (ii) utilize lean to the maximum extent possible to eliminate waste.
In the August issue, we examined the lean tools that will and will not work in high-mix, low-volume manufacturing facilities. Now, we will examine how to implement the tools that will work in the job shop with an approach that expands the capabilities of value stream mapping.
The final installment of our Job Shop Lean series includes a wide variety of educational resources to help you continue your own lean journey.
Two high-volume gear production cells grace the shop floor at Delta Research Corporation in Livonia, Michigan. Thanks to lean manufacturing, these cells have never shipped a defective part to a customer since they were developed over three years ago.
Why traditional lean manufacturing approaches need to be adapted for job shop environments.
The Tiger Team from Hoerbiger looks for ways to cut waste and improve throughput in the company's assembly cell.
Although a cell is dedicated to produce a single part family, it must have the requisite equipment capabilities, routing flexibility, cross-trained employees and, to the extent possible, minimal external process dependencies. Cells are often implemented in job shops since they provide the operational benefits of flowline production.
This is the first article in an eight-part "reality" series on implementing continuous improvement at Hoerbiger Corporation. Throughout 2013, Dr. Shahrukh Irani will report on his progress applying the job shop lean strategies he developed during his time at Ohio State University.
Over the past few months I've talked with several different gear manufacturers who are in the process of upgrading their gear making equipment with modern CNC machine tools. Each of these manufacturers has come to the realization that in order to stay competitive, he needs to streamline operations and become more efficient...
Readers respond to our "Job Shop Lean" column and the "My Gear is Bigger than Your Gear" article.
A look at some of the software options available to help with lean scheduling in a job shop
While universally known as a Japanese “invention” that was popularized by Toyota, lean in fact traces its roots to the work of post-World War II American occupation forces in Japan.
The shipping department is the closest to the customer, and its main objective is to maximize shipped orders every month. Our lean guru shows how to eliminate waste in the shipping department.
POLCA: An alternative to Kanban for high-variety or custom-engineered products.
A look at three gear industry companies at varying stages in the journey.
Most readers are at least familiar with continuous improvement programs such as lean and six sigma. Perhaps your shop or company is well along in the implementation of one or the other—if not both. But what about theory of constraints (TOC), introduced in Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt’s 1984 book, The Goal? Despite its rather negative-sounding name, this continuous improvement process has much to offer manufacturers of all stripes. And when combined with lean and six sigma, the results can be dramatic. Dr. Lisa Lang, a TOC consultant and speaker, explains why and how in the following Q&A session with Gear Technology.
We talked energy efficiency with some major players in the lubricants industry— but with a focus on their products’ impact regarding energy efficiency of gears and gearboxes in wind turbines.
How lean manufacturing principles can help transform your gear manufacturing business.
The turbines are still spinning. They’re spinning on large wind farms in the Great Plains, offshore in the Atlantic and even underwater where strong tidal currents offer new energy solutions. These turbines spin regularly while politicians and policy makers— tied up in discussions on tax incentives, economic recovery and a lot of finger pointing—sit idle. Much like the auto and aerospace industries of years past, renewable energy is coping with its own set of growing pains. Analysts still feel confident that clean energy will play a significant role in the future of manufacturing—it’s just not going to play the role envisioned four to five years ago.
I’ve had the great fortune to visit many countries and experience their cultures, and I often tell stories based on those experiences. But when I begin to tell people about my most recent trip—to Cuba—their eyes light up, their attention sharpens and they lean forward with great interest and curiosity.
Contact fatigue and bending fatigue are two main failure modes of steel gears, while surface pitting and spalling are two common contact fatigue failures -- caused by alternating subsurface shear stresses from the contact load between two gear mates. And when a gear is in service under cyclic load, concentrated bending stresses exist at the root fillet -- the main driver of bending fatigue failures. Induction hardening is becoming an increasingly popular response to these problems, due to its process consistency, reduced energy consumption, clean environment and improved product quality -- but not without issues of its own (irregular residual stresses and bending fatigue). Thus a new approach is proposed here that flexibly controls the magnitude of residual stress in the regions of root fillet and tooth flank by pre-heating prior to induction hardening. Using an external spur gear made of AISI 4340 as an example, this new concept/process is demonstrated using finite element modeling and DANTE commercial software.
Gear Expo '93 - another trade show, another plea to send people and/or equipment out of town, away from the office or plant. Another bid to spend time, money, and effort. Oh, please! Hasn't anybody heard that these are the "lean and mean" '90s?
Gear Expo 99, AGMA's biennial showcase for the gear industry, has left the Rust Belt this year and landed in Music City U.S.A., Nashville, Tennessee. The event, with exhibitors from around the globe showing off the latest in gear manufacturing as well as metal working processes, will be held at the Nashville Convention Center, October 24-27, 1999. According to Kurt Medert, AGMA vice president and Gear Expo show manager, "In choosing Nashville, AGMA;s Trade Show Advisory Council found a city that is an excellent trade show site. It has the right mix of convention center, nearby hotels, and a clean downtown area with entertainment readily available for the exhibitors and visitors alike. Nashville is in the heart of southern industry, which we see as a focus of growth for the gear industry and its customers."
Indianapolis is a nice city. No. It's a great city for a convention. The facilities and the city are modern, clean and bright. The Convention Center is easy to get to by either car or plane, and its central location in the heart of town and the enclosed skyway system between it and major hotels put visitors close to amenities like restaurants, shopping and entertainment. The people are friendly and go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.
Heat Treating - The evil twin of the gear processing family. Heat treating and post-heat treating corrective processes can run up to 50% or more of the total gear manufacturing cost, so it's easy to see why, in these days when "lean and mean" production is the rage, and every part of the manufacturing process is under intense scrutiny, some of the harshest light falls on heat treating.
For many in the gear and gear products business, these may seem like the best of times...
The gear companies enjoying the most success in today’s global market are those that firmly believe quality is much more than expert craftsmanship and foolproof inspection methodologies.
When the term, “what you see is what you get” is applied in the computer industry, it means that users or customers are able to see their end results without the encumbrances of complicated software code that enables this function. Software works behind the scenes ultimately to produce transparency and the desired effects. In many ways, this concept should be extended to the relationships that exist between suppliers and buyers and even among internal company departments.
Not long ago, many manufacturing managers thought sensitivity to environmental protection standards meant additional expenses, decreased productivity, and a plethora of headaches and hassles.
The complete Industry News section from the January/February 2013 issue of Gear Technology.
News Items About lean
1 ASQ Joins Forces for Single Lean Certification Standard (April 6, 2010)
With the goal of moving toward a single standard for lean manufacturing certification and workforce development, the American Society for... Read News
2 Dürr Ecoclean Offers Solvent Performance (February 4, 2013)
In many industrial cleaning applications the use of solvents yields valuable process advantages. Dürr Ecoclean keeps refining and im... Read News
3 Great Lakes Industry Awarded Michigan Clean Energy Grant (June 29, 2010)
A $2.5 million Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing (CEAM) award was granted to Great Lakes Industry Gear LLC, a subsidiary of Jackson, MI... Read News
4 Makuta Completes Second Clean Room (July 26, 2007)
5 SafeTap Plus Provides Safe and Clean Working Environment (February 13, 2008)
ITW Rocol recently unveiled a new water-based tapping fluid with a custom blend of synthetic additives that provide cooling properties wi... Read News
6 Clean Technologies Group to Exhibit at IMTEX (December 18, 2012)
Cleaning Technologies Group will introduce a host of advanced cleaning solutions at the Indian Machine Tool Exhibition (IMTEX) in Bangalo... Read News
7 Junker Offers Lean Selection Speed at IMTS 2012 (July 27, 2012)
Junker's Lean Selection allround offers custom-tailored power and precision and is especially prized for being user-friendly and cost... Read News