We recently showed you some of the process improvements we’ve been making in the machine shop. But we haven’t stopped there! We have been improving lots of our processes in the assembly shop too. These improvements are saving us such a lot of time as well as making jobs simpler and more manageable for the team.
Process Improvements and Filters
One of the first jobs we’ve had a look at is one of our filter housing assemblies. This particular assembly involves screwing brass inserts into plastic heads by hand and then tightening with a large alan key. Each head requires two brass inserts so this adds up to a fair amount of screwing in over hundreds of filters! It was extremely time consuming and staff were left with sore arms at the end of it. However, with the aid of an unused pallet, a jig has been created to hold the filter head in place whilst the brass inserts are screwed in using an air drill. Not only is this saving time but we also now have happier staff! We’ve got a video of this improvement so you can see it in action!
Improving our Testing Processes
Another filter we assemble requires testing. We have been using our tap test rig to test for leaks as this seemed like the obvious solution. However, this rig has been designed specifically with taps in mind so it was a bit awkward reaching the filter down into the trough. The jig to hold the tap was also in the way. So although it was effective, it wasn’t the easiest process and there was definitely room for improvement. So we abandoned the test rig and have instead opted for a small plastic tub filled with water on a work bench. It’s just big enough to submerge the filter head into. Next to this we have created a jig (from that trusty, unused pallet again!) to hold the filter in place during testing. To this, an air line and hoses are attached. Again, this process is now much simpler and quicker. And being a movable test rig, it can be set up on any bench, wherever it suits us that day. It can also be easily tidied away afterwards, leaving free space for other work.
Process Improvements and Tap Assembly
We’ve also been making lots of improvements to our tap assembly. We’ve done this by rearranging our workbenches (you can read more on this in our continuous improvement post). But we’ve also shaved off a significant amount of time through process improvements. One of the most time consuming parts of tap assembly was screwing in the four hoses to the tap body and then putting on the base tube and ring. In order to get the nuts on the end of the hoses through the base tube and ring, it had to be done in a specific order and was very fiddly. We have now created a jig for the tap body out of kaizen foam. The base tube and ring are laid out in preparation on it and the hoses can be fed straight through, making this a much quicker and easier process. We also have a video of this improvement to properly demonstrate this too!
Rob, Nicola and the Team