MEDRAD Inc. (Warrendale, PA) manufactures electro-mechanical injector systems for scanning machines used in hospitals, imaging centers and clinics. The company’s product line includes a number of different models, all designed to deliver precise volumes, pressures and flow rates of image-enhancing contrast agents used in cardiovascular and angiography imaging, CT scanning and ultrasound procedures.
The company also produces disposable injector syringes, MRI coils, monitors and radiation positioning devices.
Recently, the company created a flexible team-based production system to improve the efficiency with which its products are assembled and packaged. As part of this effort, the company also implemented a series of flexible flow racks from Creform Corp. (Greer, SC) to ensure operators could access the parts they need with minimum effort and physical stress.
According to MEDRAD process manufacturing engineer Dominic Cicchirillo, in the past, each operator was responsible for preparing a single injector for shipment-a job that included putting together not only the injector, an operator’s manual, warranty cards and protective dunnage, but anywhere from 10 to 15 accessories, such as syringes, sleeves or power cords
“In our time studies of these operations, we found that each operator was spending between 25 percent to 40 percent of their time walking into the storage areas to pick these auxiliary products and packaging supplies,” Cicchirillo says, describing the extent of the problem.
The new team concept, in concert with the company’s flow racks, has had a dramatic effect on parts flow, cutting both assembly and packaging times, and freeing up floor space for additional storage room and assembly jobs.
“In most of our package assembly stations, we’ve arranged the flow racks to feed components into a relatively small rectangular working area so the operators need only take one or two steps to reach needed materials and product,” Cicchirillo says, “Each series of racks at any given station is designed to store from one to several days supply of product.”
In its production areas, the company has equipped the flow racks with three storage levels and three lanes. The racks have been configured so they all fit within the company’s overall pallet-style racking system. The assembly area has been situated in aisle ways between the pallet racks, so that parts are much easier to deliver, with the upper rack bays used for bulk storage.
“We were able to add six new sections of pallet racks to the storage area simply because of the space savings afforded by the implementation of these rack-within-a-rack systems,” Cicchirillo says. “With our orders and production typically hitting peaks in the second half of the year, when storage area becomes a premium, the new racks were highly beneficial and economical as compared to alternatives.”
The company’s flow racks include casters, which make them easier to move for housekeeping or for creating new or different work areas. The racks are comprised of plastic-coated steel pipe, mechanical joints and hardware accessories, which allow users to specify their custom application needs. The pipe sections can be easily cut to required lengths, while assembly is done with metal joints that clamp onto pipe sections via a threaded fastener. Metal joints are removable and reusable, to facilitate custom applications or fine-tuning after initial construction.
A wide range of accessories, including dividers, picking lights, stops, clamps, mounts and adjustable-height feet, is available to meet different manufacturing needs.
For more on flexible workstations, visit www.creform.com or call 800-839-8823.