Pallet carts, whereby the pallets are placed on individual carts and pushed to
where the job needs to go next, proved to be the key to the lean makeover of the
area. It also made life for the material handler much simpler.
Employees no longer have to wait for the lift truck. If the press brake operator
needs more work, he can walk over to the laser cutting area and push a cart to
his nearby station. If the laser cutting machine operator has a hot job, he can
wheel the cart down to the press brake and notify his co-worker of the need for
quick processing of the job.
The carts also became a visual reminder of just what could be processed at
one fabricating station. For instance, no more than two orders are put on a cart.
When six carts are in front of the press brake at the beginning of a shift, everyone
knows that is about the most that the one press brake operator can finish in a
shift. (The average run time of a job at a press brake was used to help determine
just how many jobs an operator and press brake can process in a shift.) The laser
cutting machine operator then knows not to send any more carts to that press
brake and focus instead on work that bypasses the bending area.
Another Step: Kata
With kaizen events up and running and 6S taking hold, some Camfil APC managers attended a conference that explored kata, which is more of a strategic philosophy that addresses an overarching goal but relies on daily steps to work
toward meeting that goal.
For Camfil APC, the overarching goal was tied to the company’s vision statement: “Camfil APC’s goal is to be the No. 1 dust, mist, and fume collector manufacturer, producing the highest-quality systems for our customers, while daily
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