Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Shop Floor Tool Control
Northrop Grumman uses positive tool and equipment control to reduce process variability on the shop floor. Each critical manufacturing process has a work package consisting of Assembly Process Work Instructions and Process Parameter Sheets. The Assembly Process Work Instruction calls out the key characteristics, process instructions, materials, process controls, acceptance criteria, certification requirements, and associated reference documents. The Process Parameter Sheet identifies the work sequence, tools, and equipment with prescribed specifications for each step of the process.
In addition, a central tool room issues Associated Tool and Equipment Kits (TEKs). TEKs contain the necessary tools (e.g., drill bits) and equipment (e.g., hand drills, inspection devices) for each process. The tool room is responsible for preparing TEKs according to the specifications from the Process Parameter Sheets. The tool room also ensures that tools are issued within their usable tool life. Some ready-to-use tools such as a drill bits are wax sealed to indicate their ready-to-use status. Only necessary tools and equipment for each process will be kitted. Once assembled as kits, TEKs are issued to operators who then return the kits at the end of the shift.
For designated workstations where many hand tools and special equipment are required, a community tool box is provided. The tool room prepares each community tool box with the prescribed tools and equipment needed at that workstation. The placement of the tools and equipment is readily visible, well organized, and properly marked in each tool box, giving the operators and supervisors a clear indication of the tool usage status. By using a community tool box, Northrop Grumman reduced its operators’ time by more than 90% for locating and obtaining the proper tools for a job. Since tool boxes are assigned to specific workstations, this system provides good traceability and faster recall whenever tools need calibrating or scheduled maintenance. In addition, Northrop Grumman can determine which processes are currently being performed just by reviewing what tools are missing from a community tool box.
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