Machine setup time refers to the period of time that is required to prepare a machine for its next run after it has completed producing the last part of the previous run. So why should you focus on reducing machine setup of your manufacturing process instead of focusing on reducing the overall run time? Although decreasing run times reduces overall lead times, shortened machine setup times will reduce your organization’s manufacturing costs as well as increase your flexibility to meet customer demands.
Steps for Machine Setup Time Reduction
Typically, there are four main steps to the machine setup process: preparation, exchanging, positioning, and gauging. The preparation stage encompasses gathering the appropriate tools for the next job, which means having your technicians scurrying around your facility for any misplaced tools and operating instructions. After the required tools are finally found, the old parts need to be exchanged for the new ones. Once mounted, these tools typically must go through various repositioning and calibration exercises to ensure that they are properly situated.
The longest stage of the machine setup process before your machine can begin to make you revenue is gauging. Although you already did calibration, you find that you need to recalibrate, incorrect materials being used, your tools are missing or broken, etc. After a dozen test runs and adjustments, you finally feel your machine is good to go and so begins your machine’s run time. This whole setup process has left you with immense amounts of downtime that can’t be recovered, even if you cut your run time in half.
Not yet convinced that you should be focusing on setup time reduction instead of run time? The following are additional benefits:
Shorter lead time and increased capacity
Capital equipment purchases avoided or delayed
Better quality and more consistent processes
Lower manufacturing costs and improved cash flow
Increased flexibility to meet client demands
Better utilization of your workforce
Less process variability
An ERP System Can Help Reduce Manufacturing Costs
One of the key steps for reducing your machine setup times deals with implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Through this, you will be able to capture accurate setup data that will help you understand your current processes. This technology will play a large role in helping you reduce the time the ‘gauging’ stage of the setup process takes.
Interested in learning more about setup time reduction in lean manufacturing processes and the key steps you should be taking to reduce machine setup time? Click on the button below to download a printable version of our ‘Reducing Machine Setup Times in Any Manufacturing Setting’ guide, or contact a Meaden & Moore expert today.