Continuously moving assembly lines can move as slow as they need to, to fit the work on the length of the line. However, they cannot be as fast as you like. There are some limitations on the speed of the line due to the limitations of the walking speed of a human worker, and even more so due to the ability of the worker to do work while the line moves. Let’s have a look!
This is the last post on my short series on continuously moving assembly lines, where I will look at some special situations unique to the continuously moving assembly line. These lines have some interesting features for covering fluctuations within the line, for processing time that needs no worker or machine, and on the distance between parts on the line. Maybe some of these apply also to your situation and can help you to make your assembly line even better.
Continuously moving assembly lines have a lot in common with other types of assembly lines. However, there are also some differences. This third post of this small series on continuously moving assembly lines looks at how to distribute the work along the line. The key point is that you can distribute the work along the line in proportion to its duration, but the worker and the machines have to follow the takt time. Let me explain.
This second post on continuously moving assembly lines will look at the math behind the correlation between the speed of the line (line takt or customer takt), the length of the line, and the amount of work that has to be done on the line. Luckily, the calculations are not very tricky. And, different from a pulsed assembly line, it is perfectly fine to have a continuously moving line that fits not a whole number but a fraction of parts to save space. The tricky part on how to assign the work to the workers will be discussed in the next post of this series.
Continuously moving assembly lines are commonly found in industry, especially high-volume production. Most final assembly lines in automotive are continuously moving lines, but there are also many more examples in industry. Such lines have many of the same requirements of pulsed or untimed lines, but in a few specific circumstances continuously moving lines can have an advantage. This first post of this small series looks at the basic commonalities and differences between pulsed and continuously moving lines. The next posts looks at the mathematical relation between speed, work content, and line length, before a third post explores in more depth the unique issues of line balancing for continuously moving assembly lines. A final post looks at some unique features for continuously moving assembly lines.
One-piece flow is strongly connected to lean manufacturing. It moves each product to the next stage as soon as it is completed at the previous stage in the value stream. This brings lots of benefits. While I have written about one-piece flow before, in this post I would like to go into detail on the beautiful benefits of it.
In my last post I looked at how to reduce product variants, and the inevitable conflict with sales. In this post I will look at how to reduce not the number of final products, but the number of part types that go into the final product… and here you often have a conflict with product development. However, like the reduction of the number of final products, this reduction in fluctuation has significant benefits for the company.
Product variants drive up cost. The more variants you have for the same quantity sold, the higher your production cost. Inversely, if you can reduce your number of variants, you can reduce your cost. In this post I will give you some general suggestions on how to reduce your number of variants. Hopefully these inspire and help you to become more efficient.