How to reduce the setup time in your production line

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Before getting into details of ‘how to reduce the setup time in your production line,’ which is the objective of this article, it is necessary to understand what ‘set up time’ in this context means.

Setup time is the time taken to prepare your manufacturing process, which acts as a system for the production. It is a ‘non-value added operation’ for which reason it should minimize as much as possible. It is so because the high set up time is a waste that drains your resources and negatively impacts the performance. To bring out a reduction in the manufacturing costs is necessary for you to eliminate the non-value added processes. Which entails incurring additional expenses to operations ; ( tool fixing can cite as an example of this). When setup time reduced, it increases the productive time, which goes towards increasing revenue and profitability. We can now see how the reduction in set up time in your production line can accomplish.

Some of the elements that can cause a drag on the setup time are:

  • Late arrival of raw materials
  • Frequent supply of defective materials
  • Poor inventory management

How can you reduce?

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) provides a systematic approach to reduce substantially the setup time, which has applied in a wide range of industries. It is a technique, which reduces the machine setup times by eliminating wastes and offering flexibility to manufacturing.

Typically, setup processes require both internal and external elements. SMED focuses itself on the internal aspects.

It does this in two ways:

  •  internal elements converted into external
  •  those that cannot be done so are arranged in such a manner that it shortens the time.

Towards the above, a Standard Operating Procedure, (SOP) develops. Its purpose is to describe in detail how your operators should perform a given operation. To put in place an excellent operating procedure, your team would have to review each process. Typically, an SOP divided into two parts:

  • External workflow
  • Internal workflow

While the external workflow is an operation that could carry out even while your machinery is running, the internal workflow concerns itself when the machinery has stopped.

In a practical case scenario, external activities as the preparation of coil, dye, and forklift movement carried by the material handlers, during which time. The assembly workforce can concentrate on the tasks about the main ‘assembly line.’ It is also possible to utilize the time of material handler in assisting the activities that take place in the assembly line, for instance, preparation of tools. The advantage of this is that the workers in the main assembly line need not engage themselves in moving to get the tools.  It would lessen the movement time and prevent the occurrence of higher setup time and result in an increase in productivity.

In conclusion, it may be observed that setup time reduction is an important ‘lean manufacturing activity’ whose core goal is to eliminate waste. Reduction in setup time can be achieved in your manufacturing operations, by identifying three factors,

  • Method
  • Manpower
  • Machinery

SOP forms the basis for the method. The team comprises of the manpower who have to be trained and have involved at each stage of operation. The assembly line constitutes the core part of the machinery. When all the three things are combined cohesively, it is possible to reduce the setup time in a manner that brings a reduction in your costs. And improvements in performance that make your operations competitive paving the way to viability and profitability.




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