We recently helped one of our customers overcome a significant process hurdle in the launch of one of their programs. In order to accurately read and mark the sensor value for their own customer, our customer’s team was forced to come up with some unique concept designs for this calibration and marking machine to achieve the safety, quality and cycle time goals for these process steps.
Our customer’s team first decided to bid out this project to an automation supplier. In order to choose the best supplier the team felt could deliver this unique machine, a supplier selection team was formed. They ranked several potential suppliers, including INVOTEC, in areas such as technical aptitude, long term support and capacity. The process also included presentations from each supplier bidding on the project and a quote of their budgetary design. After reviewing the final data and summary from each automation supplier bidding on this project, the team chose INVOTEC.
The next step was to work with our customer to refine the design with input from their production operators, engineers, technicians and production team leaders. The customer chose to use 3P (Production Preparation Process) methodologies to improve the process. Several two-person teams were formed during the 3P Kaizen event and concept designs were created and demonstrated via cardboard mock-ups. A critique panel provided feedback on the different designs and the team selected two of them, and then demonstrated their second revisions. Designs were judged on how they best met project criteria, and finally the appropriate one was chosen.
From this point forward, the calibration and marking machine was successfully designed, built and implemented by our combined team, through the design reviews up to the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). The FAT was conducted at INVOTEC’s facility by our customer’s process engineer and lead operator and was subsequently approved. The machine was then delivered and a team of operators were trained by the team to run their Plant Acceptance Test (PAT). The final result of the PAT was an excellent Gage R&R of 99.98 percent Part-to-Part variation, and a successful pass of both the part marking features and cycle time requirements!
Our customer says this calibration and marking machine now stands as the most accurate low-temp calibration bath in their entire facility, and even outperforms their laboratory equipment! This project shows how involving a team up front will improve machine design because team members can provide valuable input that will make the job safer and more productive, while also improving part quality. These methodologies can generate machine designs that are right-sized, efficient and able to maintain excellent safety and quality. This project was a great example of how teamwork can make you stronger!
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