Lets say our new top of the line automated production line has just landed on the shop floor. We designed and built this line using DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) principles coupled with “Design Thinking“. Simply put the ultimate (operators, technicians, production supervisors) users were involved in design review and factory acceptance of the system. The system was accepted with a yield of 97% and a CPk of  1.33 on acceptance criteria.

The system output is 100% inspected with machine vision and data was logged continuously for analysis

The text files are then imported into Minitab and analyzed for performance metrics

Now the challenge is to sustain this performance and improve it over a period of time.

I believe the key to this would be training, availability of a knowledge base, predictive or condition based maintenance, data logging and acquisition for analyzing potential issues or drift over time.

We are proposing to set up the knowledge base in Microsoft Access. We will have access to operation manuals, electrical schematics, drawings,video training aids, an expert system which will have answers to common problems and trouble shooting tips. We are also dreaming about giving operators Ipod Nano’s to access many components of the knowledge base as well as use them to video record line faults and give their comments. These comments will then be fed back into the expert system

This will be built by engineers, technicians and operators who are the most knowledgeable about the line and as such will keep costs extremely low

LabView will be used to monitor sensors, transducers, encoders, accelerometers to help determine root causes for equipment wear and failure. We are looking at installing probe points in the system and diagnose the system much like a doctor would diagnose a patient

The dream is to have a lean mean operation to world class standards without the higher costs normally associated with high technology.

Not everyone can design or bring in cutting edge and innovative products

But everyone can work together in creating the most efficient manufacturing operations in the USA using “Design Thinking”.

Skunk works at its best.

Putting the 10/10 Principle to work (Save 10% and increase output 10% in 2010)