Original Date: 05/12/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Cellular Manufacturing System
In the early 1990s, Cincinnati Milacron was faced with the challenge of reconfiguring its prismatic parts manufacturing system (a projected 40,000-hour workload increase) to accommodate 500 new part numbers. Redesigned as subsystems, the Cellular Manufacturing System features upgraded equipment, a new manufacturing philosophy, and a team membership approach.
Cincinnati Milacron replaced the original 12 stand-alone T-Line machines with a four-machine T-30 Flexible Machining Cell (FMC) and a four-machine Maxim 630 FMC. To provide additional flexibility to the FMCs, a Cincinnati Milacron Cincron cell controller was installed in each cell. As a high-capability computer program, Cincron manages the material handling and machining of parts by interfacing with a Programmable Logic Controller and a Direct Numerical Control system, and performs production planning functions (e.g., load scheduling, tool and fixture identification, production tracking) off-line which minimizes spindle downtime. Cincron’s most notable feature is its tool inventory capability which eliminates redundancy and reduces tooling requirements by 40%. By coupling embedded chips in the tool holders with Cincron’s capabilities, Cincinnati Milacron eliminated erroneous tool selection by operators. Other upgrades included an air conditioning system to maintain room environments since the equipment operates in tolerance ranges of ten thousandths of an inch, and a coolant filtration and temperature stabilization system to further assure accuracy and consistency.
Besides equipment upgrades, Cincinnati Milacron initiated a new manufacturing philosophy consisting of four basic elements: efficient capacity use to meet low and high volume demands; increased agility and flexibility; increased product velocity throughout the system; and a focus on quality, delivery, and value. A voluntary team has also been started. In addition to being trained for their own tasks, members can receive cross-training, allowing them to gain ownership of the entire process. Factory floor, maintenance, programming, and systems members are represented on the voluntary teams.
By the successful integration of its subsystems, the Cellular Manufacturing System demonstrates Cincinnati Milacron’s innovative manufacturing approach. Benefits from this system include reducing lead time by 25%, decreasing floor space by 50%, increasing production by 20%, and raising efficiency by 10%. Improvements in efficiency resulted in eliminating outsourcing and reducing scrap and rework by 25%.
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