The flexible assembly line at Toyota is a well-known manufacturing approach. Such a flexibility gives Toyota the ability to produce different models in almost any sequence. These lines were already common at Toyota around 1990, and by now they are found at many car makers. Time to take a look at how it is done and why it is good.
Toyota is one of the the most visionary car makers with respect to its manufacturing. They continuously and radically evolve and update their production system. Recently I learned about their new “flexible assembly line.” Now, you’ve probably heard about Toyota’s flexible assembly lines producing multiple products on the same line. That is old hat; they’ve done that for thirty years. Their new flexible assembly line involves a completely different aspect of flexibility, with which Toyota surprised me (again). Let me show you …
The spaces around your assembly locations are most precious. In my previous post I explained how to relocate or reduce the overall material quantity. In this post I focus on how to better use the area facing the worker. Ideally, all material should be within easy reach of the worker.
Assembly needs lots of parts. Especially if you have larger parts, you may find that you are running out of space to put them. Fear not, there are a number of things that you can do to solve this problem. This post will present you with all the solutions (that I know) to remedy a space shortage in assembly.
Supplying material for assembly operations can be quite a challenge. After describing the challenges in the previous post, I would like to show you in two posts what you need to consider when you want to create an assembly location. This is a somewhat structured approach on how to set up a material supply for your assembly operations, although you will still need some iterations to achieve a good solution. After that I will have a post focused on what to do if you are running out of space at your assembly location.
Assembly of multiple parts into one bigger part is a common process in manufacturing. It is also the most challenging one for supply logistics. If there is only one part that gets milled, drilled, coated, formed, or other wise processed, logistics is much easier. But if you have dozens or hundreds of parts that have to come together in different variants, it becomes much more of a challenge. In this post I will look at the challenges of supplying material for assembly. In subsequent posts I will show ways to address these challenges.