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Step 3: Convert Internal Activities to External Look at the activities that have been identified as being Internal and somehow convert them to being external as illustrated in figure 5, thereby further reducing the setup time.

Some examples of this can be pre-heating dies or moulds before putting them into the machine so that you don’t have to wait for the machine to heat them (Formula One tyres are heated to driving temperature before fitting so the driver does not have to wait for his car to get to temperature). Other examples can include having additional sets of clean common tooling that would otherwise have to be cleaned, setting cutters and other equipment off line, having ‘intermediate’ fixtures to set and just slide in when the machine stops.

<< Figure 5 >>

<< Figure 6 >>

Step 4: Improve Internal Setup Activities Look if the Internal activities can be eliminated or streamlined as illustrated in figure 6. Examples like locating points can be made more positive, bolts can be replaced with wing nuts, etc. to eliminate the usage of tools, dowel pins can be used for locations, self locking bolts can be an answer in many places, use quick changeover hardware and couplings etc.

Step 5: Improve External Activities Review what you have done in earlier stages and improve further on what has been done to improve changeover times.

Step 6: Mechanisation of Activities Introduce mechanisation wherever possible. An appropriate example here might be the usage of pneumatic torque tools in place of the manual torque wrenches, pneumatic screwdrivers can replace the manual ones etc.

Step 7: Complete Elimination This is achieved with some divergent thinking and going back to the design board. Example of several functionalities can be combined into one tool, or some of the parts can be eliminated by using the design for mfg./assy concepts etc.

As is rightly said, SMED is one of the most important tools within lean manufacturing, it is the philosophy by which you will methodically reduce your changeover times, allowing you to implement just in time ( JIT) and reduce waste from your processes, thus reducing your costs and making you much more profitable.

Going a step further, once SMED is achieved, One Touch Exchange of Dies (OTED) might be the next logical move.

Gorur N Sridhar is a mechanical engineer and a qualified Six Sigma Master Black belt with more than 26 years of experience in manufacturing, quality and design in aerospace, automotive, engineering services and medical domains. He has been instrumental for substantial cost savings through value engineering, process improvements & failure analysis. He has got major achievements to his credit including filing of 6 patents and authoring articles on quality to various international quality portals and journals. He has mentored more than 100 Six Sigma & Kaizen projects and is a Qualified Internal Auditor for ISO9000, QS 9000 & AS9100 quality systems. He is also associated with the implementation and sustainance of CMMI L5 activities. He is also equally contributing in EHS and community development programmes. He is located in Bangalore, India and can be reached at

28 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.2

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