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Changeover is a ‘race’ won or lost in the pits?

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Articles

Imagine this: In Formula1 race, drivers have to make a pit stop for gas, new set of tires, and part service.  The driver sits and waits, counting each passing car, knowing that every lost second at the pit will diminish his chances at winning the race. Thus, the effectiveness of his pit crew is a crucial deciding factor of winning the race. So, is the pit crew ready with the right tools and equipped with the standard procedure? Or they slowly go to the car, still discussing on task assignments, and rummaging a pile of tools to find the right ones they need?
The same principles occurs everyday in the manufacturing world.

Changeover is a process of converting or transiting a line, machine or materials from one condition or system (method of production) to another. Changeover often happens when there is a transition from one product or module to another. Changeover times can last from a few minutes to as much as several weeks in the case of automobile manufacturers retooling for new models.

The terms set-up and changeover is sometimes used interchangeably, however this usage is incorrect.  Set-up is only one component of changeover.  Changeover can be divided into 4 sections:
  • Shutdown – the time spent for the machine to cool down
  • Cleanup - the removal of previous product, materials and components from the line
  • Set-up - the process of actually converting the equipment
  • Start-up - the time spent fine tuning the equipment later on it has been restarted

The purpose for reducing changeover time is not for increasing production capacity, but to allow for more frequent changeovers in order to increase production flexibility.  Quicker changeovers allow for smaller batch sizes.

From a business point of view, running smaller batches enable Just-In-Time Manufacturing. With this, we reduce the amount of cash tied up in stock, the amount of handling and handling equipment required, floor space required for stock, lead times through our company. We also increase our flexibility to produce a variety of products, and eventually improve our capacity and quality.

The benefits of quick changeover include:
  • Reduce defect rates - Quick Changeover reduces adjustments as part of the setup and promotes the quality of the first piece.
  • Reduce inventory costs - Elimination of, or reduction in numbers of batches, and their sizes, allows for recovery of operating cash and manufacturing space.
  • Increase production flexibility - Increase output and improve timeliness of response to customer orders.
  • Improve on-time delivery - Quick Changeover supports the ability to meet customer demands.

Interested in discussing your requirements? Let’s talk.

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