Lean Manufacturing Assembly

Assembly Management: Four Ways Visuals Can Improve Reliability and Asset Performance

August 1, 2011
Visual devices can be an important part of your proactive maintenance strategy.

Visual controls like gauge labels make it clear at a glance whether the temperature or pressure is within the normal operating range.

While visual devices are widely used in 5S, standard work, quick changeover, kanban and other lean techniques, they can also be an important part of your proactive maintenance strategy.

Visuals can provide a number of benefits to your reliability program, including:
• Simplified training.
• Improved quality and fewer defects.
• Ability to detect abnormalities at a glance.
• Faster troubleshooting and repairs.
• Fewer unplanned maintenance, repair and operation purchases.
• Reduced inventory.
• Improved safety and employee morale.

Visuals can improve your equipment reliability and asset performance by simplifying preventive maintenance; optimizing predictive maintenance; facilitating troubleshooting and repairs; and promoting error-free setups.

Simplify oil management with oil level indicator visuals. Green and red striped labels placed behind the sight tube lets the operator easily detect when oil levels are too high or too low.

Simplify Preventive Maintenance

A good starting point is to use signs and labels to identify preventive maintenance (PM) points and to provide basic cleaning, inspection and lubrication instructions.

Using visual devices to identify PM points and provide detailed instructions is especially important if your company has implemented an autonomous maintenance program. When responsibilities for routine care and inspection are transferred to equipment operators instead of trained maintenance professionals, it’s critical to clearly define their tasks and checkpoints.

Here are some examples:
 
• Lube labels. Improper lubrication, whether it’s too little or too much, can be a major cause of equipment failure. A simple lube label can save your company significant costs in motor repair and replacement.
 
• Color-coded markings. Apply color-coded markings to zerk fittings and grease guns to guard against using the wrong type of lubrication.

• Oil level indicators. Simplify oil management with oil level indicator visuals. Green and red striped labels placed behind the sight tube lets the operator easily detect when oil levels are too high or too low.

Preventive maintenance schedules and check sheets are other valuable visuals to have on your shop floor. These schedules show who needs to perform what task, and when the task should be completed.


Chain tension indicators can help you detect when chain tension is too loose or advise when to replace the chain.

Optimize Predictive Maintenance

Even when maintenance personnel retain control of PM activities, the growing number of new and relatively inexperienced technicians in the workforce increases the risk of errors and omissions.

As baby boomers retire-about 78 million of them will do so in the next 10 to 15 years-the coming shortage of skilled workers will significantly affect industry. One large, well-known manufacturer recently forecasted that by 2014, approximately 70 percent of its maintenance staff will have less than five years of relevant job experience.

In addition, maintenance workers must learn how to use a growing number of sophisticated predictive maintenance technologies, such as vibration analysis, ultrasound and thermal imaging. When performing predictive maintenance, it’s critical to take measurements at the same exact place each time. To ensure that the location for readings remains consistent-regardless of who conducts the inspection-you can use visual predictive maintenance targets.

When implementing predictive maintenance programs, reliability technicians often use inspection routes to streamline the process and maximize efficiency. However, one drawback to this approach is that the technician may not be familiar with every piece of equipment, and the correct readouts may vary across different machines.

Here are some examples:

• Gauge labels. Visual controls like gauge labels make it clear at a glance whether the temperature or pressure is within the normal operating range. In fact, these visuals make it so easy to detect abnormalities, that anyone walking by becomes a potential inspector, facilitating early detection of potential problems.

• Chain tension indicators. Visuals can help you detect when chain tension is too loose or advise when to replace the chain.


This label provides a visual indicator of when to reorder supplies.

Faster Troubleshooting and Repair

Visuals can also speed troubleshooting and repairs. Including “to” and “from” information on equipment ID labels makes it easier to trace lines in electrical systems and pipe networks. As a result, technicians can perform repairs faster and reduce the risk of errors and injury.

Maintenance stores are perhaps the biggest contributor to maintenance inefficiencies, and your storeroom may offer plenty of opportunities for improvement through visual management.

You can make repairs even more efficient by ensuring that the right replacement part and its storage location are clearly identified, ideally by putting the information right at the point of need.

Here are some examples:

• Shelf and bin labels. To reduce search time-and ultimately reduce downtime-clearly label shelves and bins in stockrooms and tool cribs. Where possible, use graphics and photos on your labels for faster recognition and to avoid pulling the wrong part.

• Lockout procedures. To enhance safety and reduce hazards, many companies post graphical lockout procedures right on or at their equipment. These procedures provide detailed steps to accomplish a task, including photos, diagrams and instructions.

Visuals such as control panel labels help to simplify machine settings and positioning for operators.

Promote Error-Free Setup

When restoring equipment to operation, visuals can ensure efficient and error-free setup.

Here are some examples:

• Control panel labels and alignment aides. Visuals such as control panel labels and alignment aids help to simplify machine settings and positioning for operators.

• Gear and shaft labels. Labeling the rotational direction on gears and shafts can help avoid costly setup errors that can damage or destroy motors and drive systems.


For More Information

To learn more about visual reliability, or to see more photos and examples of reliability visuals, visit Brady’s Visual Workplace Web site at www.BradyID.com/visualworkplace.

ASSEMBLY ONLINE

For more information on the visual workplace, visit www.assemblymag.com to read these articles:

Hank’s Story: How the Visual Workplace Answers Questions.

A Journey to the Other Side of Lean.

Leading Lean: Make Everything Visual.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Podcasts

Anyone even thinking about advanced power tools needs to pick the brain of Eric Dees. He’s the Global Lean Business Process Leader for Ingersoll Rand Power Tools and Category Manager for their Assembly Tools Business.

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

assembly cover september 2014

2014 September

The 2014 September Assembly includes articles about engine assembly plus much more. Check it out today!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Assembly Plant Age

How Old Is Your Assembly Plant?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ASSEMBLY MAGAZINE STORE

welding.gif
Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus