Original Date: 07/23/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Cycle Time Reduction
(equipment: Klonkner-Windsor, 3500-ton injection molding machine)
Nascote Industries has implemented an aggressive plan to reduce its product cycle times on all products with up to a 50% reduction on some product types. Nascote’s previous set-up reflected a cycle time of 110 seconds for an 11- pound fascia and 125 seconds for a 14-pound reinforcement. Realizing that cycle time reductions could lead to new and additional business, management pursued the cycle time reduction effort.
Nascote’s specially-assembled team looked at the normal industry cycle time reduction efforts and determined that the current approach would not yield the desired results. Instead, the team investigated the actual functionality of the molds. Findings indicated a savings could be achieved by changing the approach to the filling of the mold with raw materials. Because nothing on the market would offer the company a reduction with current technology, Nascote changed the standards of high production molding methodology.
The team developed a design for the mold to fill using sequentially-operated gates and a mechanical shutoff. This approach resulted in the application and approval of a patent for a Sequential Valve Gate System. Working in conjunction with an injection press manufacturer, Nascote developed software which allowed the gate to open and close in relation to the fill auger screw speed. Through perseverance and expertise, a method once thought unattainable was developed and implemented.
Results have yielded an average cycle time reduction of 33%. The 11-pound fascia’s cycle time has been reduced from 110 seconds to 75 seconds. The 14-pound reinforcement’s cycle time dropped from 125 seconds to 89 seconds, and Nascote currently has some fascias running at a cycle time of 65 seconds per part. The company is currently tasked with a cycle time reduction target of 60-65 seconds per part. Through this effort, Nascote has avoided the cost of procuring two additional presses for business that was awarded subsequent to the process change, thereby saving $6 million. The reduced cycle times have helped to increase manufacturing flexibility and inventory control, and also provided a higher return on quoted business.
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