With the constant focus of continues improvement, we are always moving forward with productivity gains. SolidWorks has really helped us with there intuitive design interface, and has minimized our training needs. It has also maximized our productivity in our design and engineering resources to create products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. We can deliver compelling product detail with representations of 3D models, 2D drawings, animations, and photo-realistic renderings before manufacture. You can also leverage existing 3D data to create dynamic technical communications like interactive assembly instructions, exploded formats, and compelling project proposals that differentiate you from the competition. It has also improved our collaboration witch drives new ideas and expands opportunities.
If you are on the journey of lean manufacturing and you have planted those seeds that will, one day, grow into that mighty tree, don’t give up on your quest. A couple years ago we struggled with the fact that it was actually possible to implement Value Stream Mapping methods in an ever changing fabrication job shop environment. At the time, we were having trouble with on-time deliveries and uncontrollable bottlenecks in various departments. When taking an in-depth look at our product mix and push-type scheduling methods , we soon realized there was definite room for improvement. We also determined that there would have to be a culture change, and that this was going to have to be a team effort and not something that was forced from the top down. So the first initiative was to send all of our employees to Principles of Lean Manufacturing Overview and Simulation hosted by WMEP. This proved to be instrumental in giving our employees the basic understanding of lean and allowed them a voice in the overall goal of what the company was trying to accomplish. These are some of the key success factors in the implementation process:
- Prepare and motivate people
- Involve employees at all levels and functions
- Share information and manage expectations
- Identify and empower champions
- Create an atmosphere of experimentation
- Question everything
- Install realistic performance measures, evaluation systems, and reward systems
- Start with pilot projects – and never stop
Being that this was our first time with Value Stream Mapping, we decided to just go with the systematic approach to identifying waste.
- Identify the target product.
- Draw while on the shop floor a current state value stream map, which shows the current steps, delays, and information flows required to deliver the target product or service.
- Assess the current state value stream map in terms of creating flow by eliminating waste.
- Draw a future state value stream map.
- Work toward the future state condition.
After many weeks and much work from a lot dedicated people, we finally had completed the entire process on one part. As minimal as that may seem, it was an overwhelming accomplishment for New Tech Metals. Since then, we have incorporated over a half dozen new parts and our current measured on-time delivery is at 98%. We also experience productivity increases, we have reduced our work-in-process, our measured quality is at 99%, and have bettered our space utilization. The overall work environment has changed and the morale is positive. As a company, we will continue to incorporate the many factors of lean manufacturing with the expectations of one day world class. So I will leave you with the old saying, ” If you always do what you always did, then you will always get what you always got.”
Over a year ago we were looking for ways to improve productivity in the office. Through one of our team building sessions the idea was proposed that we go to dual monitors for our designers. After reviewing the cost and the potential gains we went ahead and equipped our design department with dual monitors. After about a 6 month beta period we started noticing significant gains in the day to day productivity. We then decided to expand on this idea, and equip the entire office staff with this same set up. With a little bit of training and some acceptance of change this proved to be a win situation for New Tech Metals. Now, if you were to ask any one of our employee’s to go back to the single monitor, the look you would get would not be one of disappointment. In some of our latest team building sessions we have be discussing the fact of incorporating monitors out in the shop to potentially eliminate all paper in our process.
Here are five good reasons to have dual monitors:
- Published studies indicate that having a dual monitor in a workplace setting can increase productivity by 20 to 50 percent. For example, if you’re computer automated design, it should be obvious that having your source code on one side and your program on the other side of a dual monitor display would be very helpful.
- Real multi-tasking requires enough screen space to keep two or more apps in full view simultaneously. If you have ever tried to size and align windows on a single monitor, you’ll appreciate the ability to have several apps fully open at the same time. Customer service reps and cad/SolidWorks designers are additional examples of people that would benefit from dual monitors.
- Cutting and pasting between documents is much easier when you don’t have to alt-tab between them and scroll up or down so much. If you create newsletters or PowerPoint presentations, you’ll identify with this.
- Picture and video editing is a whole new experience with dual monitors. You can have all of your editing tools on one screen while you work on the project in the other. You can compare before and after views of the same work, or supersize panoramic pictures.
- Comparing products is easier when you have dual monitors.
With the continued growth in our aluminum welding, it was time to improve our TIG welding capabilities. After reviewing several different TIG welding machines, for us the answer was obvious, Miller’s Dynasty® 350. This machine not only has a compact power source capable of welding up to 5/8” aluminum, but it also has total arc control providing maximum productivity and weld quality while conserving energy compared to traditional welding machines. This technology will give us superior arc performance and control that set new standards for productivity and weld quality, while lowering the cost of operation.
Polishing and buffing are finishing processes for smoothing a workpiece’s surface using an abrasive and a work wheel. Technically polishing refers to processes that use an abrasive that is glued to the work wheel, while buffing uses a loose abrasive applied to the work wheel. Polishing is a more aggressive process while buffing is less harsh, which leads to a smoother, brighter finish. A common misconception is that a polished surface has a mirror bright finish, however most mirror bright finishes are actually buffed. Polishing is often used to enhance the looks of an item, prevent contamination of instruments, remove oxidation, create a reflective surface, or prevent corrosion in pipes. In metallography and metallurgy, polishing is used to create a flat, defect
Vibratory Finishing : is a type of mass finishing manufacturing process used to deburr, radius, descale, burnish, clean, and brighten a large number of relatively small workpieces. Vibratory finishing systems tend to produce a smooth finish because the media essentially laps the parts.-free surface for examination of a metal’s micro-structure under a microscope. Silicon-based polishing pads or a diamond solution can be used in the polishing process.