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How Conveyors Improve Lean Operations

November 12, 2015

lean-manufacturing

In Lean Manufacturing, less is more.

A Lean operation’s ultimate goal is to eliminate waste in a system, which it achieves by creating flexibility and disposing of overproduction. Lean environments sometimes shy away from using powered conveyors in their operations, but when correctly applied, automation propels Lean Manufacturing goals—not hinders them. It’s the “secret sauce” of excellent lean manufacturing and warehousing operations.

In a true Lean environment, the customer is paramount. In other words, you need to consider what the customer wants to pay for at every point in your production. The automated solutions of today can help your Lean Manufacturing operation in three significant ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Lean, Manufacturing, Warehousing| 2 Comments »

Options for Manufacturing Cost Reduction

June 23, 2015

Component assembly in a manufacturing operation

Waste might be the most critical measure for manufacturing operations – waste of labor, materials, time and money. Many companies are faced with nearly constant pressure to cut costs and increase efficiency, even as demand spikes. This means reducing costs without compromising quality or throughput. What are some things you can do to balance these needs?

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11 Expert Insights on 2015 Manufacturing Trends

January 20, 2015

Manufacturing operation with gantry cranes

It’s an exciting year in the world of manufacturing. With the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming increasingly pervasive and innovations and new technologies paving the way for more efficient, productive, and intelligent industrial operations, manufacturers have the opportunity to continue with the forward momentum the industry experienced in 2014.

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The Wonder of Robotic Palletizing

June 6, 2014

Robotic Palletizing

I recently attended an ESOP event at a specialty paints and stains company. During the tour of their plant, I got to see a robotic palletizing system in operation. I was impressed. Standing about 6 to 8 feet away from the action, I watched as it placed 5-gallon cans of paint in rows of 3 stacked 3 high. Each row was offset from the previous one, so that optimum pallet space was used. As the robot picked up cans off the conveyor belt using a vacuum end effector, it placed them precisely on the pallet. Then, it slightly dropped down and “bumped” them to make sure they seated onto the row below. That action made me chuckle as I considered what a profoundly human act that was – a little hip action to make sure the cans seated correctly.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Palletizers, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Lean Manufacturing Practices of the Future

December 16, 2013

Lean manufacturing line for a rooftop air conditioner maker

You want your company to be a leader in your field. You want to provide the best product to your customers at the best price, and cut needless costs, transactions, touches, and clutter that inhibit productivity. The term “lean production system” was coined in 1988, and manufacturers have been honing their operations to conform to lean principles ever since.

It starts with making sure every part of your organization is doing its job well; and is armed by process to execute its mission.

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How to Implement the 5S Approach in Workcells & Workstations

January 4, 2012

workstation with 5S implementation

Based on 5 Japanese words that begin with ‘S’, the 5S Philosophy hones in on effective work place organization and standardized work procedures. When correctly implemented, it reduces waste, increases efficiency, and overall work quality. You’ll also have a safer, more effective operation and employees who are more checked in than they were before. It simplifies work flow and helps you find inefficiency.  You may see things like empty flow racks, needless processes, over stocking, redundant operations,  looming maintenance problems, and more.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Industrial Shelving, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Small Manufacturers’ Coalition: Keys to Success

October 26, 2011

Manufacturing - motors at an automotive plant

The American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC) released their Next Generation Manufacturing Study in 2011, identifying key trends affecting the industry and steps U.S. manufacturers can take now to be successful in the next generation. Some of the findings are fairly predictable, while others may surprise you. In particular, you have to consider people at all levels. Are your key players likely to retire or take other positions over the next decade or so? How can you prevent that? What can you do to further develop them?

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Carts vs. Conveyors in Product Transport Operations

May 10, 2010

conveyors vs. carts for transport

When you are moving items such as cartons, bins, or components through a facility, several methods are available. Most of the time the choice is between non-powered carts & trucks or conveyors, whether power or gravity. (If you’re moving pallets, there are other methods and issues). Generally, conveyors deliver a less manual, safer operation with added efficiency across the board. Products are moved faster and fewer employees are required to accomplish the same tasks. Conveyors minimize fatigue and reduce potential manual lifting injuries. This improved handling has the potential to reduce worker compensation claims and expenses

But when do you make the leap from a manual, cart-driven system to a conveyor transport system?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Best Manufacturing Plants in America: What They Have in Common

February 9, 2010

Industry Week ran a recent article on the best manufacturing operations in the U.S.

IW says that these operations have the following traits in common…

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Doing more with less: the core mission of material handling

April 27, 2009

Cisco-Eagle CEO Warren Gandall discusses ways to do more with less in a struggling economy

order picking at a warehouseAchieving more with less is a core goal of most businesses. In the warehousing and industrial world, that means building more, shipping more, doing more – controlling more – with fewer resources. The typical issue is labor in many of these operations. It takes people to run a shipping operation, and plenty of them.

“In economically challenging times like now, you’re being asked to produce more per person than ever,” said Cisco-Eagle’s CEO, Warren Gandall. “You’ve probably had to let people go. You may have shut down some areas, cancel contracts, cut a shift, and take the steps necessary to emerge from this downturn. But the big question is, how do you emerge stronger?”

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Cross Docking, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »