Reducing setup times, increasing safety and multiplying output

Reducing setup times, increasing safety and multiplying output

Daniel Penn Success Stories


A contract manufacturer of components for medical device, commercial and bearing markets


Set-up time to change over 20 mold machines for the production of a different component exceeded four hours per machine. This resulted in under-utilized equipment, compromised schedules, and excessive overtime.


Reduce work-in-progress bottlenecks and increase the production of a complex molded cartridge assembly.


Through Lean SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) techniques, reduce by 50% the time required to change out specific dies for each molded component without compromising employee safety and product quality.


DPA’s Kaizen leader worked with a team of five employees to document the current performance of the cell and test time-saving alternatives. The team observed and timed work by the setup technician and the material handler. They analyzed quantities (inventory) available for each part. They mapped out the scheduling process through spaghetti diagrams.


Through their measurement and analysis, the team discovered maintenance and staging issues with the molding cell’s tooling machines; delays in material change-outs and piece check queues and inconsistencies in workplace organization.


The team developed a refined process matrix for the cell. They replaced old or missing tools, standardized tooling, created a safety check process, wrote task lists for set-up and materials handling, staged areas for tooling setup and retrofitted heater manifolds to minimize time at start-up.


  • An 85% reduction in setup time, from 212 minutes to 45 minutes
  • A 65% reduction in walking distance to materials from 5,000 feet to 1,500 feet
  • An 80% reduction in walking distance for mold technicians, from 2,400 feet to 250 feet
  • Reduced set-up by 170 minutes per machine. As a result, an average of 6.5 machines are now set up each day
  • Increased output for each machine by 2652 parts per day, or 811,512 parts per year

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