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Before improving anything in a setup, we must first consider the current state or common problem areas of what we are improving. In the case of setups, changeovers or turnarounds there are traditionally 4 basic steps where problems and opportunities fall. Those steps are:
The preparation phase of a traditional setup is one of the largest portions of a setup or changeover. On average you will find that anywhere between 25% to 30% of your opportunities will occur in the preparation phase of a traditional setup. The preparation step ensures that any necessary parts, tools and materials are located where they should be and are in a working condition. This phase also includes any after processing that needs to occur, such as removing items and putting them in the proper storage location, cleaning machines or lines and returning any other items. Traditionally this occurs when a line, operation, machine or process is stopped. However, as you can tell by the description, many of the steps that would occur here are in fact external activities and can be done before the equipment is stopped or after, when the machine begins running. One thing to note is that whether you are preparing for your changeover, making adjustments after a process or checking for materials and tools, this preparation phase can oftentimes be reduced from 30% of your setup time, to 0%.
Removing and Mounting Tools and Parts
In the second phase of a traditional setup, the actual change over occurs. This is when the removal of any parts or tools from the first batch or lot occurs and the mounting and attaching of the second lot takes place. In general this step can only be performed when the machine is stopped, which means it is mostly based on internal activities. This does not mean that improvements can not take place but generally they have more to do with training, tooling and the standardization of activities. In comparison to the other phases of a traditional setup this phase only consumes about 5% to 10% of the setup process. Which, as you now know, is not very substantial in comparison to other parts of a traditional setup. Despite this obvious fact, we should remember that all improvements, even the smallest ones, are a step in the right direction. So, don’t ignore this phase by any means. Squeeze any and all the waste you can out of it.
Measurements, Calibration and Settings
The third phase of a traditional setup is about 15% to 20% of the traditional setup process. This phase includes measuring, calibration and establishing correct settings. As you probably know already, this phase is very important. It includes any and all measurements that need to be made to ensure that the production run, item, line or service is done correctly. This may include, but is not limited to measuring pressure, temperature, dimensions and any other dimension that would need to be calibrated. If we look at this example of the pit stop on an indy car the torquing of tires, air pressure, gas refill and calibration of any other parts of the car would fall into this phase. Something to keep in mind is that many of the steps which would fall into this portion of traditional setup are considered to be internal activities. However, improvements can still be made. With that being said, the Measurements, Calibration and Settings phase should still be optimized. You can learn more in the REDUCE course.
The final phase of a traditional setup is the one that traditionally takes the most time. In phase 4 adjustments and trial runs are performed to dial in everything from the Measurements, Calibration and Settings phase. In general this step involves machining a first article, test piece or trial part. Then, it is inspected and adjustments are made. This is oftentimes a back and forth process until the output is correct. These adjustments can be simplified by having more accurate measurements, calibration and settings in the previous step. This is easier said than done in many cases. However, through use of the REDUCE methodology this phase can oftentimes be reduced from 50% of your traditional setup to 0%. Looking back on our definition of changeover we are reminded that the changeover is not truly complete until “the first good piece” is produced. With that in mind, the traditional setup cannot truly be complete until this step is finished. This makes this phase another internal setup. Although, we will learn how this step can be eliminated so that acceptable outputs can be produced right away. With this understanding of a traditional changeover or setup you now have a foundational understanding that you can build on in your efforts to REDUCE setup times. You can learn more in Lean Strategies International LLC's Quick Changeover with REDUCE course.
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