Experience LEAN live

13. Sep 2017 item Redaktion

From October 2017, seminar participants at the Hanover site can find out how to transform a conventional production system into a lean Industry 4.0 factory.

The motto of the learning factory in Hanover is “Experience LEAN live.” Factory Consultants, HeyDo Apps and item Industrietechnik have pooled their know-how in a seminar package to offer beginners and LEAN users an ideal learning environment. The transition from a conventional production system to a LEAN Industry 4.0 factory can be modelled step by step in an easily understood format in the learning factory. This involves introducing LEAN methods during various rounds of a planning game to reproduce the effects of measures in a practical way and apply them directly to participants’ own production operations.

During various rounds, participants learn about the key differences between conventional production and a Lean Industry 4.0 factory. To this end, the Factory Consultants GmbH training facility, which has a successful ten-year track record in teaching LEAN know-how, has been equipped with tablets to demonstrate the potential of paperless order processing and digital shopfloor management. The office workstations, storage facility and assembly line required for the planning game have been developed using the item Lean Profile Tube System D30  to enable particularly quick and easy reconfiguration. For example, the work benches can be redesigned over and over again during the seminar to ensure they best meet the needs of each round.

At the end of the seminar, participants are able to analyse a multi-stage process methodically, identify potential for improvement and use process and work bench design to significantly improve overall system performance. Unlike many other seminars, participants acquire practical user knowledge and apply this to real situations while they are still in the learning factory. An electric gear motor is used as an example product and comes in almost 300 variants made up of various components and assemblies to suit specific customer needs.

Realistic working environment as a real challenge

Round one simulates an everyday situation at a conventional company. Participants are confronted with typical production challenges – initiating an order without taking capacity into account, complex material and information flows, fluctuating work content and varying batch sizes. What is initially very easy in the module pre-assembly stage becomes a hopeless mess in places as problems stack up in the subsequent final assembly stage. Nothing seems ideal – neither the layout of the production line nor the workflow. 

From round two onwards, the problems are made visible by measuring key data and mapping the workflow, and participants are encouraged to improve the overall system. They don’t just use their own know-how to do this – true to the motto “how can such a company be optimised with our current range of experience” – but also use tools such as value stream mapping and methods such as 5S for work bench design. 

They are supported at all times by the seminar leader, who shows what adds value in the process and what process steps can be eliminated or optimised.

Planning games highlight increasing efficiency 

The comparisons after each round highlight how the improvements that have been introduced impact on planning figures. However, they also show where action still needs to be taken and what customer requirements have not yet been met. 

The better the participants get to know and understand the system, the better able they are to use LEAN to tailor production exactly to market needs. This includes introducing one-piece flow, Kanban, minimising setup times, simplifying material flow management and inventory sizing. The prerequisites for each method are clearly defined to ensure participants have the necessary knowledge to evaluate which methods are suitable for use in their companies. 

What makes the learning factory in Hanover so unique? 

As well as being taught lean methods, participants also find out how easy it is to create small and efficient cells with Profile Tube System D30. After just a brief induction, everyone is able to design work benches, repeatedly reconfigure them and improve details – all on their own and using just one single tool.

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