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What Is Lean Manufacturing? How Does It Help In Mechatronics?

by | Jun 27, 2022

In Lean Manufacturing, waste is classified as everything that does not offer value to the client, and it can be a technique, event, product, or service. According to the Lean definition, idle time, excess inventory, and inefficient procedures are all waste.

Lean manufacturing is a key approach to reducing waste in a manufacturing system while maintaining specific control margins for production and efficiency.

In this article, we will discuss;

    • Different kinds of waste
    • Principles of Lean Manufacturing
    • Lean Manufacturing Tools

Waste Segmentation In Lean Manufacturing

Seven wastes or Muda, as defined by the Toyota Production System (TPS), are universally agreed upon by lean practitioners:

    • Defects
    • Overproduction
    • Waiting
    • Transport
    • Inventory
    • Motion
    • Overprocessing

Taiichi Ohno, the TPS’s founder, described these wastes. Unused potential, according to some practitioners, is the eighth waste. The first seven wastes are all connected to manufacturing processes, but the waste of underutilized potential is unique to production management.

    • Defects:

    The loss of value due to the scrap, repair, or rework of a product that deviates from specifications is defect waste. Quality defect waste can be caused by excessive variance in manufacturing processes, high inventory turnover, insufficient tools or equipment, conflicting guidelines, poor training, or shipment damage caused by bad design and unnecessary handling.

    • Overproduction:

    Overproduction is described as manufacturing of a commodity more than is required, at a quicker rate than is required, or before the requirement is met. This type of waste is most frequent in a supply chain that operates on a “push system.” Overproduction waste can be caused by automation in the wrong areas, poor communication, improper planning, and a just-in-case incentive structure.

    • Waiting:

    Waiting refers to time lost due to delayed or interrupted production in one phase of the manufacturing process while another is being performed. To compensate for the lost time, the task that takes the most time must be made more efficient, must employ extra staff to assist, or the workflow must be better managed or scheduled.

    Irregular work practices, a lack of appropriate tools or resources, extensive setup periods, poor maintenance of machinery, or expertise shortages can all contribute to waiting.

    • Transport:

    Any material transit that does not directly promote primary production is classified as transport waste. Transport waste can be caused by inadequate layout design, poor production control, and improper sequencing. Another occurrence is inefficient office organization, which leads to wasteful material transportation.

    • Inventory:

    Unrefined waste is referred to as inventory waste. It comprises warehouse waste, capital locked up in untreated inventory waste, storage space lighting settings and inventory transit waste.

    • Motion:

    Motion can be defined as any movement that does not optimize the product’s value. It might occur due to part movement from the machine or persons working on the component. Ineffective plant design, inadequate process documentation, and poor workplace structure are common causes of motion waste.

    • Over-Processing:

    Any superfluous effort in manufacturing or distribution that does not add value to a product or service is over-processing. Process modification, superfluous information, process constraints, repetitive reviews and clearances, and imprecise client demands are all over-processing waste.

Here is a list of 5 key principles of lean manufacturing in mechatronics

The Five Key Principles Of Lean Manufacturing

The book Lean Thinking details the Five Lean manufacturing principles: value, value streams, flow, pull, and perfection. These are regarded as a formula for increasing workplace efficiency, and each of these ideas is discussed in further detail below.

     

    1. Value:

    Only the consumer may add value to a product or service, and only in the context of a certain point in time and price. A few examples are choosing a pricing point, setting up a production and delivery timeframe, and other critical needs.

    2. Value Stream:

    Waste is an unavoidable by-product if the value stream stops going forward at any phase. Companies must identify and map the product’s value stream in this phase. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a lean technique that can graphically map out the complete product flow. Identifying and eliminating phases that do not provide value will be easy after the value stream has been mapped.

    3. Flow:

    Workflow refers to how work moves through a system. A system can have an “excellent” flow when everything is in order. The task begins and ends at random intervals when the flow is disrupted. Slowdowns in flow give rise to the possibility of waste, and a steady flow leads to a more constant supply and higher value. Raw materials, work-in-progress, finished commodities, operators, machinery, information, and engineering are all part of the flow. Lean thinkers strive to keep everything working smoothly.

    4. Pull:

    Lean Manufacturing substitutes the old manufacturing technique of generating things based on projections with a pull approach, in which nothing is manufactured unless the consumer requests it. For effectiveness, flexibility is necessary, as are short delivery cycle times.

    5. Perfection:

    The Lean Manufacturing Methodology aims toward excellence by reducing faults and waste. The search for perfection continues as goods are created, resulting in constant improvements at each production stage. According to lean experts, a process isn’t fully lean until it’s been through value-stream mapping at least half a dozen times.

Lean Manufacturing Strategy & Tools

Lean tools and strategies are used in various industries, from manufacturing to construction to financial services, and they are frequently combined with the Six Sigma approaches. Although there are several variants of Lean tools and strategies, this post will concentrate on five of them;

    1. PDCA:

    Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA), also known as the Deming Cycle, is a scientific way of monitoring modification. There are four components to the PDCA cycle:

    Plan – Identify a problem or a process that needs to be improved.

    Do – Perform a small trial.

    Check – Examine the test findings.

    Act – Take action based on the findings.

    2. Jidoka:

    It is designed to partly automate the production process (Partial automation is usually more cost-efficient than complete automation). They come to a halt automatically when errors are detected.

    3. Poka-Yoke (Error Proofing):

    Poka-Yoke is a popular process analysis tool based on the preventive concept. It focuses on ensuring that the appropriate circumstances exist before implementing any procedure. Defects and human carelessness are less likely to occur due to this procedure.

    4. Andon:

    Andon is a plant-floor visual response that displays process flow, warns when assistance is needed, and allows operators to halt output.

    5. Six Big Losses:

    Six Big Losses lays forth a strategy for combating the most prevalent causes of waste in the industrial sector.

    Six types of productivity loss are essentially ubiquitous in the manufacturing industry;

    • Disruptions
    • Configuration
    • Small-deviations
    • Reduced Rates
    • Rejections from Start-ups
    • Rejects from Production

Relevance of Lean Manufacturing in Mechatronics:

Mechatronics industries are constantly pushing limits, increasing production, and streamlining faster outputs in engineering applications.

Implementing Lean Practices in their manufacturing has helped companies optimize workflows and processes on production lines, boost OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), and provide great returns to other businesses. As a result, the advantages are numerous in the industry:

    Better product quality

    Increased efficiency saves valuable workers and resources that would otherwise spend on innovation and quality control.

    Make visual management easier.

    A lean-oriented production layout produces a smooth and linear workstation, allowing managers to swiftly evaluate the area with a visual scan, notice anything that does not appear in order, and identify any setbacks.

    Faster turnaround time

    By streamlining production processes, organizations execute the deliverables with fewer delays and shorter lead times.

    Create more space in the manufacturing plant

    You’ll notice that you have a lot more room now that you don’t have any surplus equipment, tools, or inventory cluttering up your facility. You will free up more space as you remove clutter. Vertically in your racking and horizontally across your floor, reducing completed and raw inventory saves space.

    Staff contentment

    Productivity suffers when employees’ daily routines are overloaded or swamped with needless tasks. Lean manufacturing can improve production, but it also improves the quality of work life.

    Higher revenues

    As a result, increased output combined with reduced waste and higher quality results in a more successful business.

Conclusion

We discussed in detail what lean manufacturing is and how it helps in mechatronics. Lean is best adopted as a technique throughout an organization, with continuous monitoring and changes implemented with the help of workers at all levels. We should also be aware of how it necessitates a significant amount of physical infrastructure.

Our services can aid support with product and process development, such as manufacturing production support, asset management, technical support, and defect analysis and failure.

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