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Single Minute Exchange of Die

Changing a product mold in our industry is never a matter of “if,” it’s strictly a matter of “when.” As such, that change out time is critical to the production flow. We’ve seen operations that approach a mold change like a race-car pit crew during production and other operations that do it at the end of the shift while clean-up is occurring. The assumption is that it is a constant work in progress to transition from one product to the next in an efficient and timely manner.  Lean Manufacturing has a term for it; SMED, or Single Minute Exchange of Die. SMED is a process driven method of reducing changeover times through observation and evaluation of the steps involved. It’s a method discerning what can be done while the equipment is running or can only be done while the equipment is stopped. This will result in external and internal procedures that can ultimately cut down the time needed for a mold change without compromising unit quality. For more information contact Mike Maroney.

Shift change and variability

Alan Perlis, a mid-twentieth century computer scientist stated, “One man’s constant is another man’s variable.” It’s a profound statement especially when considering the dynamics of operations running two shifts. More often than not, adjustments and settings are changed when one machine operator takes over for the next as every equipment operator has their own method of operation and adjustment, this is a fact, and it’s good as long as the information is being shared with the next shift operator. Once again, communication is the key to success and a way of maintaining consistency in production. For more information on variability and shift transition, contact NCMA Production Specialist Mike Maroney. Do you have a question about production? ASK MIKE.

Block machine height gauges 

Ben Franklin once stated that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I’d add that there is nothing in a block operation that is so insignificant that it would be excluded; take for instance wet side height gauges. We’ve all seen them on the manufacturing line, thin flat rectangular sheets of metal with a handle in the center with the machine operator deftly moving it around the perimeter of the machine pallet checking the cycle height. It’s a simple tool that provides a level of comfort that heights have been maintained during the wet side production. They are a quick indicator, which can be used without stopping the line. Contrary to belief, the gauges can get worn down, and the units may need to be built back up to the necessary height. Set an easy to remember time to pull all the gauges to verify that they’re reading the correct height, like when you’re having your scales calibrated or during your monthly block machine preventative maintenance routine. For more information contact NCMA Production Specialist Mike Maroney.