Improvement of the assembly line at Bronkhorst High Tech
2010- Bronkhorst High Tech (BHT) in Ruurlo (the Netherlands) has changed her assembly line and found out how a higher flexibility, reduced through put time and less waste can enhance her competitiveness. Employees from several disciplines are actively engaged in the innovation process.
BHT is specialized in the development, assembly, calibration and testing of flow meters. These high tech instruments are delivered on demand to customers from chemical, semiconductor and process industrie. Together with TNO the company worked on the design and realization of an assembly cell for two originally divided production groups with similar products with high variation. In the original design there was a lot of handling and tasks were optimized in sub processes. Now the whole production flows faster and there is a shorter through put time.
Why this is work place innovation
Cooperating with a group of operators and production engineers the process is analyzed precisely and improvements are implemented. Tasks are organized in such a way that new employees can learn them more easily and also can adjust the new building.
BHT wants to reduce waste and enhance productivity by improving the assembly line.
The project team started with providing the insight in the urgency to change. The flow of materials and the particular concern for waste were described as well as the through put times and the activities. The productmix is pointed out, the steps in the process, the work content and the needed capacity. Together with the employees alternatives for the design of the first and the end assembly were checked.
The process is altered from batch production to demand driven. Special schemes for assembly were created to outline the steps and timing of the process. In between testing is implemented to enhance security. A change of the organizational climate and enthusiasm of the employees were very important.
The new design makes the process flow more visible and reduces the need for management and control. Operation manuals are available to assure quality. Workers are operating where the product flow demands it. The lay out of the jobs and the work places make it more easy to instruct new employees. BHT has realized a enhancement of productivity with ca. 20% and 30% reduction of through put time for the products, standardization of the operations, visualization of the processes and enthusiastic personnel.