Fundamentals of Karakuri Kaizen

Karakuri is the art of creating machines without an external power source. After an introduction to the topic in my last post, I would like to show you some fundamental techniques for karakuri.

I would like to pay particular attention to power management: Where do these machines get their power from, how do they store it, and where does it go? I will also (very !) briefly talk about kinematics, and even some karakuri ideas that go beyond kinematics. My next post will have lots of examples, mostly from the Karakuri Kaizen Exhibition 2017 in Nagoya.

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Introduction to Karakuri Kaizen

Karakuri NingyoRecently I visited the Karakuri Kaizen Exhibition 2017 in Nagoya. This was a very impressive exhibit, and I learned a lot about karakuri from the many different examples shown there by over one hundred exhibitors. Organized annually by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance, it is to my knowledge the biggest showcase of karakuri in the world. This was an exciting visit that I will process in a whole series of blog posts on karakuri.

Karakuri is the use of mechanic gadgetry rather than electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic devices. Definitely no computers! Within lean, it stands for mechanical gadgets that improve your system. Time to look closer at what I learned from this karakuri exhibition. Continue reading Introduction to Karakuri Kaizen

Industry 4.0 – What Works, What Doesn’t

Industry 4.0 is (still) all the rage in manufacturing industry. I’ve already took A Critical Look at Industry 4.0. A lot of Industry 4.0 is hot air with a return on investment only far into the future. However, there are a few ideas that actually may work soon enough. In this post I would like to give my views of what works in Industry 4.0 and what doesn’t. Continue reading Industry 4.0 – What Works, What Doesn’t

How to Deal With Long Delivery Times

Lean has a bunch of advanced but good tools for material delivery, like Just in Time, Just in Sequence, and Ship to Line. Using them is much easier on short distances and with short delivery times. Yet, sometimes you just don’t have the option of short delivery times. This blog post deals with the issues related to long lead times and delivery times. Continue reading How to Deal With Long Delivery Times

The Kingman Formula – Variation, Utilization, and Lead Time

The lead time of a system is heavily influenced by both the utilization and the variation. There are approximations available to estimate this relation, and one of them is the Kingman formula. In this post I would like to introduce you to this equation and describe the fundamental understanding of it. Luckily, you don’t really need the formula for your daily dose of lean. The equation itself has little practical use. However, this relationship is important for understanding the behavior of your production system. While you won’t use the Kingman formula to evaluate your production system, understanding the equation will help you in tweaking your system in the right direction.

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Ship to Line

Ship to Line (STL) is yet another technique in lean to optimize your material flow. The idea’s gist is that instead of bringing material to the warehouse, you deliver it directly to the line or to the point of consumption. Like a freshly delivered pizza, you don’t put it on the shelf and eat it two days later.  However, for Ship to Line  to work, there are a few things to be aware of and to take care of. Let me explain: Continue reading Ship to Line

Just in Sequence Part 3 – What Can Go Wrong

This third and last post on Just in Sequence details all the things that can go wrong, and talks about how to fix them. The biggest problem is if the sequence of your Just in Sequence part does not match the main component that it should be sequenced to. This happens especially due to defects and rework. I also describe common options to deal with these problems – but be warned: all of them suck. As usual in lean, it is so much easier not to have problems in the first place than it is to deal with them afterward. Continue reading Just in Sequence Part 3 – What Can Go Wrong