Assembly Blog


Honey-Dos and the Assembly Line

Has a hobby or home improvement project ever informed your work on the assembly line?

May 6, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Trans

I first got the woodworking bug three years ago. My wife, an avid gardener, wanted a workbench for potting plants. But, we ran into sticker shock when we shopped around for a ready-made bench.

“Could you make me one?” my wife asked.

Could I? We would have to see. So, I bought some cedar and a few tools and went to work. Several weekends later, my wife got her potting bench, and I had the itch to do more.

My most recent project was to build an oak corner cabinet for my wife’s collection of Irish pottery, and the project has given me a greater appreciation for work on the assembly line.

For one thing, the project taught me the importance of good fixturing. Fixtures don’t actually do anything, like drive a screw or weld a joint, yet they’re the first part of an automated assembly system that gets made. They represent a small part of the overall system cost, but if they fail, even the best-designed machine will produce junk.

I learned that the hard way during my cabinet project. The cabinet’s hexagonal shelves needed a groove along three sides so plates could be leaned against the rear wall. I wanted to make the grooves with a router in a plunge base. Unfortunately, my first attempt at a shop-made fixture to hold the shelf and guide the router was less than optimal. To my horror, the first groove I cut looked more like a wandering river than a straight line.

Back to the drawing board! My second fixture was much better. It locked the shelf securely in place while smoothly and precisely guiding the router.

The cabinet project also gave me a new appreciation of the lean concept of 5S. When implementing lean, 5S is usually the first methodology put in place. It plays a vital role in reducing waste, downtime and in-process inventory.

The first S—sort—requires assemblers to remove all items not needed for current production operations. Only the bare essentials should be left. What great advice! I typically spent the first 10 to 15 minutes of each project day just organizing my workspace and clearing my bench of all the stuff that accumulates on it during the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The next S—set in order—means to arrange items so they are easy to find and use. This saves time and energy spent looking for things. Many times I would reach for a clamp or carpenter’s square only to find it was not where it was supposed to be. How frustrating! A classic pegboard arrangement solved the problem. Now I just have to make putting things away a habit!

Finally, I now have a deeper understanding of tolerances and stack-up issues. I didn’t really appreciate that until I had to cut several boards to the same length. No matter how carefully I measured, I could never get the boards exactly the same length. They were always a tiny bit off.

I’ve since learned how to deal with that issue, but the experience made me think of real-world assembly challenges, like parts feeding, turbine manufacturing or automated assembly of vehicle transmissions.

What about you? Has a hobby or home improvement project ever informed your work on the assembly line? Has your work on the assembly line ever influenced a project or past-time? Share your thoughts!

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

 Live from The ASSEMBLY Show, Bob Wood, president of ECI Spinnomatic, talks about his company’s newest product: a fully automated riveting cell equipped with a rotary indexing table, a six-axis robot, an orbital forming unit, and laser sensors. 

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

december 2014 assembly

2014 December

The 2014 December Assembly includes our Capital Spending Report plus much more. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Production

How much will your assembly plant produce next year?
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.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus  

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms