When I was working for a large furniture manufacturer, I was a manager of one of their Machine Build departments. The Machine Build departments supported the kaizen efforts going on at each of the companies’ facilities. Machine Build members participate in the kaizen event, gain an understanding of the need and bring the information back to shop for design work to be completed. Early on it became clear that a set of design guidelines was needed to ensure the machine designs supported the lean principles being put into place. The Machine Build shops came together and developed a list of twelve (12) machine design principles.
These principles can apply to almost any machine being used in a lean environment, but it should be noted that many of these machines were being put into Chaku-Chaku (Load – Load) lines. These lines usually have multiple machines all running at takt that are related to the making of one completed assembly. The machines are normally arranged in a U-shaped cell with one or more operators moving the subassemblies from machine to machine until a completed assembly is produced.
Over the course of 2019, I will be outlining the principles that the Machine Build shops developed for machine design, so stay tuned!