Bosch Rexroth is offering tips on using automation technology as a tool to help solve lean manufacturing challenges.
Developed with lean manufacturing expert Jamie Flinchbaugh, Rexroth's "Lean Manufacturing and Automation Technology" puts to rest the myths about the roles of automation and lean and focuses more on when it makes sense to consider automation solutions to lean manufacturing problems.
Flinchbaugh, who is co-founder of the Lean Learning Center and co-author of the popular book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean," emphasizes that automation can actually eliminate error and waste, as well as reduce cycle time and streamline processes. He says automation offers significant potential for manufacturers implementing lean, as long as it is applied to the specific challenges that it is best suited to solve.
For example, when evaluating whether to implement automation in a lean strategy, consider these tips:
· Develop and test a hypothesis before investing time and money into an automation solution. Model the improvement the automation may achieve, test it, and then see if it can be used to prevent a problem.
· Look for automation design features to be inherently flexible. The more flexibility the features have, the better chance a lean operation has to improve.
· Be aware of the difference between using automation to solve a specific job or task problem vs. using automation in the context to the whole manufacturing process. You can automate just one step and make the entire process more efficient.
"Lean Manufacturing and Automation Technology" is episode number eight in Rexroth's lean manufacturing podcast series, available for listening or free download from the company's Web site at www.boschrexroth-us.com/leanpodcast. The podcast series is also available from the iTunes podcast library and other podcast directories on the Web.
Developed by Bosch Rexroth's Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies group, each eight- to 10-minute lean manufacturing podcast episode presents guest experts and information to help manufacturers and OEMs understand and apply lean principles and practices in their businesses.
Visit www.boschrexroth-us.com/lean for more information on lean manufacturing.