Assembly in Action: Benches Help Assembly
MPC Products Corp. (Skokie, IL) is a supplier of electromechanical actuation systems and components. Its product line covers approximately 20 different items. Lot sizes range from five to 20. The company follows a build-in-place assembly strategy and operates in one shift.
The company's previous benches for assembly did not meet requirements. There was no above-bench storage, which is important for assembly applications where easy access is required. This resulted in the ineffective use of vertical space at the workstation for tool storage and document organization. There was little free space below the work surface, limiting the amount of room for technicians' legs. Restrictions made it difficult to move back and forth across the width of the workbench. Work surfaces were unorganized and cluttered with parts, tools, and instructions. It was also difficult to keep floors clean around and under bench areas. Lastly, it was not suitable for progressive build and cell manufacturing.
Technicians required a more efficient and organized workspace. They needed effective tool storage, document presentation, power outlets, task lighting, and monitoring and test equipment.
They also required test stands to hold test fixtures weighing up to 600 pounds. Fixtures are complemented by electrical controls and monitoring equipment in various configurations and sizes. Some method of transporting products off-line and delivering them to the build area was also needed.
The company's goals were to:
- Relocate the line to another area of the building.
- Increase assembly efficiencies.
- Reduce floor space requirements per technician.
- Improve organization of the department.
- Increase capacity by adding workstations and test stations.
The company also wanted to:
- Develop all required workstation applications from a single workstation, which would enable easy expansion and reconfiguration when needed.
- Allow for transitioning from build-in-place to progressive assembly for higher volume jobs and maintain build-in-place for low volume jobs.
- Allow for quick, low-cost installation.
- Achieve simple changeovers and reconfigurations for new or changing tasks.
Lista International Corp.'s (Holliston, MA) Arlink Series 8000 workstations offered the ideal product to accommodate MPC's needs. The modular workbenches are used in all the technicians' assembly areas. They are installed back-to-back and side-to-side. This reduces the cost-per-station through sharing of common structural components, such as columns, stabilizer panels and outriggers. A column height of 84 inches provides usable space all the way to the top of columns. Pegboard organizers provide accessible tool storage. Document shelves store work instructions and manuals. Tiered parts bin rails provide multiple levels of parts bins and easy access. Locking drawers provide secure storage. Monitor platforms are mounted on articulating swing arms.
"I have been very pleased with the workbenches. The best attribute about the product is its ability to reconfigure, quickly and easily, in so many ways. It is working well for us, plus we're thinking of new ways to use Lista Arlink products in the future," says Raul Ortiz, manager of linear actuator assembly at MPC. For more information about workbenches, call 800-722-3020 or visit www.listaintl.com.