How to save time and increase efficiency with custom fixturing

Posted by Elaine McDevitt on Nov 1, 2016 8:57:32 AM

In their never-ending search to improve efficiency and safety in the Assembly Department, two new Kaizens have recently been completed with the use of custom made fixturing.


Initial Problem:  Loading large structures onto trucks was taking about an hour to an hour and a half with three or four people needed to get the load set. There was a lot of measuring and trial and error in setting the equipment safety in place on the bed of the truck.

Desired Condition:  Get the structures ready to truck out with less time and trial.

Solution:  As with many solutions involving repeat work, a fixture seems to be the solution for this problem, too.  Emilio Guilbe designed such a piece for the left and right side of the structure; Mitch Gould drew them up and had the pieces cut; Fabrication welded the pieces together. 


Now each fixture bolts to the side of the structure, no matter the size.  When the piece is lifted up by the crane, the loaders just make sure the fixtures are flat against the side of the truck bed and lower into place.  The fixtures are removed and all is right with the world.  Emilio figures these fixtures saved at least an hour per person and it takes only two to load the trucks now.  No more trial and error, no more measuring tapes, no more tying up more than two people at a time!  Many thanks to Emilio and Mitch for the team work!


Initial Problem:  Each time we assembled the step up into a  control room, it required much more work than it looked.  We had to measure down to where the step would be placed and then weld on a bracket on each end of the step and then grind and repaint where the weld occurred. 

Desired Condition:  A more efficient way to attach the step without so many “steps!”

Solution:  Simple fixtures were made to hold the premade grated step in place at the same height each and every time.  The lugs on each side of the step were redesigned so that they included two holes before they were blast and painted the first time.  Now the lugs will be bolted on to the control room instead of being welded to save time with welding and repainting. 


Again, when it comes to repeat work, saving an hour here and there really adds up in both time and money!

Many thanks to the guys in assembly for keeping these ideas coming!