Case Study 1: Method Improvement

Unit: P.D. Steels, Mohali

1. Introduction of the Project.

The Unit produces electrical components for Indian Railways. To produce Alternate Body, fins and brackets are MIG welded with cylindrical body (refer Before Situation photographs below). It was felt that manpower productivity of the work is low, often operator was found resting and complained of fatigue.Team of concerned supervisor, operators and LMC was formed. It was decided to conduct method study of the work, workout solution and implement the same within scheduled time of 30 days. LMC conducted the study

2. Process description & Measurement Plan
The whole process was video-graphed and following operational elements were observed to happen.

  1. Pick cylindrical body using an EOT and place vertically on a platform.
  2. Sit on floor, pick up a fin/bracket
  3. Pick up welding gun and tack weld fin/bracket.
  4. Move to next position and repeat Element 2 & 3
  5. Repeat elements 2, 3 and 4 till all fins and brackets are tack welded
  6. Repeat elements 3 and 4 to complete full welding
  7. Pick assembly using EOT Crane and set aside
  • It was observed that average time taken was 2 hours per assembly. There were 2 stations to meet the production requirement using equal number of operators.
  • 220 assemblies are produced per month using 2 stations.
  • Manpower cost of the operation was Rs. 1.92 lacs per annum. Fatigue was high and work flow hindered.
  • Target taken was to reduce operation time by 40%.

3. Situational Analysis

All elements were critically analyzed and following observations were made

  1. Operator goes back every time to pick up a component lying at fixed place leading to avoidable movement.
  2. Carry and adjust welding gun while going around the component.
  3. Repeat the avoidable movement of self while going around the job.

The above led to higher time taken to execute the job as well as led to high fatigue due to which he was forced to rest in between, consuming still more time.Root cause thus was the movement around the job, which was kept stationary on a low platform, of the operator. Solution was obvious but suggested by operator.

4. Improvement Plan

To eliminate root cause, it was decided to design and install a rotating fixture on which the job can be located. The operator remains stationed at one place, avoiding thereby wasteful movement.New fixture design was provided by the team and implemented.No operator resistance was encountered as it was his own idea which also reduced fatigue to large extent and avoided chances of accident during movement.Operator was able to reduce time taken per assembly from 2 to 1 hour average, thus exceeding the target of 40% by another 10% saving thereby Rs. 0.96 lacs per annum in manpower costs. It also saved space which otherwise was occupied by second station. This helped to run two different jobs simultaneously, further improving the flow of work

5. Standardization of the activities Welding process was not changed.

6. Summary of benefits



Case Study 2:Reducing coolant wastage & improved 5S

Unit: P.K.Industries

1. Introduction of the Project.

The Unit produces machined automobile components for LCVs and tractors. The Unit has number of CNC machines on which chips disposal conveyor is installed. The conveyor discharges chips into a wheeled trolley. Filled trolley contents are dumped out at designated place in scrap yard.Part of coolant comes along with chips. Besides loss of coolant, the scrap yard area floor always remained wet with coolant, presented a dirty look with foul smell emanating from the area.It was decided to study the problem and work out solution by involving a team of concerned supervisor, two CNC operators and LMC

2. Process description & Measurement Plan

The process of collection of chips and dumping in to scrap yard involved following steps

  • Move trolley filled with chips to scrap yard.
  • Dump out trolley contents in to scrap pit.
  • Return the empty trolley back to machine
  • Allow the coolant carried with chips to drip and spread over area.
  • Bundle dried chips.
  • Clean the scrap yard floor of coolant from time to time.


3. Situational Analysis

Why Why Analysis was used to arrive at root cause and solution

  • Can coolant mixing with chips be avoided? : No, both are applied / generated at same point
  • Then where the two can be separated.: Any time before dumping
  • Is scrap yard area alright for separation:No, because coolant will spread on floor
  • Then what’s the alternate

Some arrangement in trolley can work.Alright, let us put a mesh at the bottom of the trolley and collect dripped coolant from trolley bottom through a stop valve provided.One sample trolley was prepared and used to verify quantity of coolant lost. It was average 600 liters of coolant per year from 10 CNC machines presently in use.

4. Improvement Plan

A removable mesh frame was provided at bottom of the trolley. Coolant collected at bottom of trolley was collected and put back in to coolant circulation system of the machine.No operator resistance was encountered as they were part of the project team. Operators working at scrap yard for bailing the chips were extremely satisfied due hygienic working conditions created.

5. Standardization of the activities

Wire mesh frame and valve systems were provided on all chip collection trolleys eliminating chances of error.

6. Summary of benefits

Case Studies 2
Case 1

Case Study 3: Reducing waste of transportation

Unit: V.K Engineering Works

1. Introduction of the Project.

The Unit produces machined automobile components, primarily for tractor industry, from castings. It was observed that all transportation from / to stations is manual.In order to study the impact of the problem and convince the Unit management, it was decided to select one component for study.It was further decided to study transport operation for moving the input material to first machine instead of machine to machine movement where comparatively distance moved was less.A team of concerned store supervisor and LMC was formed to study and advice remedy

2. Process description & Measurement Plan

Component selected was Oil Sump. Data gathered related to the component for handling from storage point to first machine was as follows:

  • On average 200 pieces of the component were produced per day.
  • A worker carries 2 pieces per round over a distance of 6 meters.
  • Drops the piece at work station and comes back to lift next two pieces.
  • Average time consumed per trip was 1.25 minutes i.e; 125 minutes per day
  • Total distance moved per day thus was 1200 meters

3. Situational Analysis

Unitization principal of material was decided to follow. Considering weight and size of the component a 15 piece capacity trolley was decided

4. Improvement Plan and Results

Design of the trolley finalized and implemented. It reduced the material movement distance from 1200 meters to 168 meters per day, an 86% reduction.Picking two components each time, placing in trolley, carrying to machine, unload the components and return with empty trolley consumed 3 minutes i.e; 42 minutes per day. Handling time per day thus reduced from125 to 42 minutes..
Fatigue was thus reduced and output of the handler improved.

5. Further action

Encouraged by the results, the Unit started using trolley for other components.

6. Summary of benefits

case3 case 31

Case Study 4: Reducing WIP, improving flow

Unit: JJ Engineers and Fabricators

1. Introduction of the Project.

The Unit produces machined automobile components, primarily for tractor industry. It was observed that normally WIP in the Unit is high, spaces are clogged and flow is slow.In order to study the problem it was decided to conduct studies of one of the prominent component -Cover Plate HP 50.It was decided to study the problem and work out solution by involving a team of concerned supervisor, CNC operators and LMC

2. Process description & Measurement Plan

Following are the details of the process followed for Cover Plate HP 50:
(i) Forging moved to VMC-1.
(ii) VMC-1 – facing, drilling, taping and rough boring.
(iii) HM-1 – facing in two setups.
(iv) VMC-2 – taping, milling & drilling.
(v) VMC-3- boring, reaming & chamfering.

Work measurement studies were carried out to establish the time taken against each operation. The same is provided below:


VMC 1 and Milling Machine are run by a single operator. Loading & un-loading time of 1.5 minutes is included in above standard time for each operation. Milling operation is performed when machining at VMC 1 is in progress on subsequent piece.Components between three VMC Station are carried on a 30 component capacity trolley.
Average WIP is 180 pieces.

3. Situational Analysis
Following observations can be made after analysis of work measurement study.

  • Trolley size is large. Besides creating high WIP problem, trolley movement problems were observed
  • Controlling operation time is 18.8 minutes / component at VMC 1.
  • Machine is cleaned of chips manually.
  • Tool movement time is high.
  • Tools used are all single operation tools

4. Improvement Plan and Results

Following improvements were recommended.

  • Trolley capacity needs to be reduced from 30 to 12 for ease of movement and reducing WIP and improving flow.
  • Multiple tools should be used instead of single operation tools – combined tools like boring & chamfering, drilling & chamfering, double boring.
  • Chips should be removed pneumatically.

The recommended improvements were implemented leading to the following advantages

  • Controlling element time of 18.8 minutes reduced to 17.2 minutes improving machine productivity by 8.5%.
  • WIP reduced from 180 pcs to 72 pcs.
  • The action led to savings of Rs.1.98 lacs per annum.
  • Flow improved.

5. Standardization of the activities

Necessary modifications in present SOPs was carried out, including details of new cutting tools.
6. Further action

Encouraged by the results, the Unit to go for horizontal deployment on other components

Model Case – Cover Plate HP 5


Case Study 5:

Unit: JJ Engineers and Fabricator

1. Introduction of the Project.

The Unit produces machined castings for tractor industry. It supports number of CNC and general purpose machines to execute machining tasks. Multiple components being handled on each machine, there are multiple numbers of tools and gauges used on each machine. It was observed that operator at each machine is spending considerable time, although not measured, in searching tools & gauges which were kept at a common place in unorganized manner. Tools and gauges were for use on specific machines. Time thus lost was a drag on output and overall operational efficiency.

A team of concerned supervisor, 2 operators and LMC was formed.

2. Process description & Measurement Plan

Operators at each machine was

  • walking down to central storage point,
  • search the gauge/tool,
  • pick it up,
  • go back to respective machine,
  • use the gauge/tool and
  • deposit it back to central storage point.

Work sampling studies were conducted to get an idea of the time lost. It was important to know the time loss to convince Management that magnitude is high.Following was the outcome of work sampling studies:

  • Time loss is exceptionally higher at CNC Machines in comparison to General Purpose Machines.
  • 80% of the time is lost in searching the tool/gauge.
  • There is wide variation but average excess time consumed per day on CNC Machines alone was 4 hours on 6 machines.
  • Total time loss was thus 1200 hours per annum.

The data was enough to convince the Management to go for improvement

3. Situational Analysis

Analysis of tools & gauges used showed that practically each tool & gauge is for specific use at a particular machine. This was true for CNC Machines except a few exceptions.Root cause thus was the central storage point which was also unorganized.

4. Improvement Plan
Following action was thus decided to eliminate root cause

  • Provide an organized storage place at CNC Machine itself to save collection, search and return time.
  • Requirement of a few additional common gauges may be met by providing additional gauges

A new table was designed (refer picture below) which was attached to the body of all six CNC machines. Besides providing designated work place for tools & gauges, it also provided a shelf to keep documents & files.No operator resistance was encountered as he was part of the team and idea helped to reduce his fatigue and frustration in searching for tools and gauges.

5. Savings were

  • 1200 hours equivalent manpower saved i.e; Rs.0.26 lac p.a.
  • Additional machining time available @ Rs.4 per minute = Rs.2.88 lacs. These savings will be realized as and when requirement goes up.

6. Standardization of the activities

Gauges and tools for each CNC station decided and marked accordingly.