Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Drill Exchange System
Through its Drill Exchange System, Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility demonstrated that process improvements, such as making material readily available and using outside sources, can result in cost savings and improved performance.
As the work mix changed, Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility’s (EBQP’s) machine shop was confronted with the problem of allocating sufficient equipment and personnel to perform the task of re-sharpening drills. Buying new drills was not a solution because of tightened budget constraints. In-house sharpening capabilities included only two outdated pieces of equipment, and machinists frequently waited in line to exchange their dull drills for re-sharpened or new ones. This process of exchanging drills resulted in many hours of non- productive labor. To address this problem, the machine shop established a process improvement team. The team recommended that sharpened bits be openly available to all machinists from a centrally-located rack. Open access to the rack eliminated the need for the machinists to wait in long lines to interface with tool crib personnel. The rack was organized so various drill bit sizes were sorted and marked, and a collection box was available for depositing dull drills. The team also recommended investigating the use of an outside source to re-sharpen dull drills. The vendor would need to re-sharpen the drills cost-effectively to tight standards, with quick turn-around times to support production requirements.
Sample drills were sent to a potential vendor who returned re-sharpened drills that satisfied EBQP’s requirements. The quality of the re-sharpened drills allows EBQP to get longer tool life, better quality, and higher speeds and feeds in all materials. Initially, the new process saved approximately $5,000 through reduced procurement, saved labor cost with the elimination of non-productive hours, and improved tool performance.
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