Lean Series Part I: Reducing Transportation Waste in your Paint Production Process

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How You Gamble With Your Paint Production Processes: 11 Ways To Be A High Roller

Transportation Waste is defined as the unnecessary movement of people or parts between processes.

Automated conveyors are usually not the first thing lean coordinators for manufacturing think of when they are developing a Lean strategy, but it can have a huge effect on Continuous Improvement.

I hope lean organizers (in any production facility which processes finished parts) consider the following information when beginning their lean journey.

Lean conveyance in manufacturing paint processes is more than moving parts from one place to another; it’s about eliminating unproductive waiting time by delivering parts to meet customer or station demand.

An IntelliFinishing complete finishing system is responsive to Lean manufacturing, focusing on optimizing product flow throughout the finishing process.

At IntelliFinishing, our unique Complete Powder Coating or Complete Liquid Coating System has the ability to compliment your Lean Manufacturing processes and eliminate waste in your facility, adding value to your products and your productivity measurements.

When thinking of an automated paint system, I hope you compare the benefits of all the types of conveyor systems available to you. See how an Intellifinishing system stacks up against monorail and power and free. Of course, I want you to choose our IntelliFinishing system if it is the best fit for your needs. Each conveyor has value for the processes in a manufacturer’s finishing system. The value added to your particular Lean expectation is dependent on what your requirements and end goals are.

Ways an IntelliFinishing Complete Paint System Reduces Transportation Waste for a Lean Process

If you are looking to cut transportation waste, an IntelliFinishing automated paint system may be what you are looking for. Here are some of the areas where you could be rolling “snake eyes” with every toss of the dice, (when you start up your production line for the workday), with an IntelliFinishing System.

  1. Batching product is no longer necessary and results in a reduction in WIP (work in progress):
    The IntelliFinishing system has immediate response when adjusting to process changes and production flow providing continuous improvement in your finishing process. It can even be extended to point of use, allowing your parts to travel from paint to assembly to shipping, improving your workflow. Our lean paint system allows for pre-programmed recipes that let you change process speeds and dwell times specific to the part and part family.
  2. An IntelliFinishing system offers layout flexibility and grows with your production:
    Several of our customers have added additional phases after their systems were installed, and efficiencies were recognized. Second and Third phases were implemented when necessary, instead of over-investing in the beginning. We equate this as “jackpot” for our customers!
  3. Independent zones and carrier controls:
    Our carriers can stop and start throughout the entire system, without stopping the rest of production, which saves you money! “Cha-ching!”

    Independent Zones & Carrier Controls
    Carriers can stop and start in a process without affecting the rest of the line.
  4. Single Piece flow or One Piece Flow is attainable:
    An IntelliFinishing complete finishing system for manufacturers can attain single piece flow because it uses recipes to produce consistent and repeatable results. Our systems also have less than 1% downtime meaning you will be able to set and meet your required takt times.
  5. Friction driven conveyor eliminates downtime due to chain issues: 
    Imagine a conveyor system that has a footprint that equates to one mile in length, filled to capacity with parts for the paint process (you are playing with a full deck!). Now imagine that somewhere within one of the zones there is a chain jam. If you work in production you probably have the ability to pinpoint exactly how long it takes to shut down production, find your pry-bar or heavy duty come-along (or whatever tool you have in place) to release the jam and physically pull the carrier in reverse to a buffer zone; perform the required maintenance; inspect the chain links as stated in your maintenance manual; all before you can restart production. As we have seen in plants, sometimes the jam fixes itself once the torque releases and operators will spray paint the section where the jam occurs and wait for that section to pass through the platform to inspect the chain for damage. Think about how many people on the paint line this affects and add in the costs of their downtime. “You got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em”. If this is something that happens frequently, you need to get more information about IntelliFinishing Automated Finishing Systems as soon as possible. 

    Friction Driven Conveyor - No Chain
    Our alternative to power and free conveyor has no chain. Reduce your maintenance, your floor space and downtime.
  6. No wasted space on return chain because there is NO chain:
    Return chain is a huge waste taking up valuable floor space. It can be a nightmare when troubleshooting. An IntelliFinishing Turnkey Finishing System’s unique “wild card” feature, is the ability to travel in forward AND REVERSE with no wasted movement such as a return chain that is empty having to travel through the whole footprint to get back to its original starting point. An IntelliFinishing system uses deadhead turns and spurs if parts need to be re-routed or receive extra processing.
  7. Reduced downtime:
    Or what we like to refer to as the “Royal Flush”. No chain. No jams. No operators waiting for production to restart. No de-dogging. Less maintenance.
  8. Point of use:
    An IntelliFinishing System gives you the ability to incorporate your work stations where you need them for your product flow. Masked parts can be unmasked at workstations located together for point of use in the production process to continue on their way immediately. You are in control to develop your personal lean strategy and what design works best for you when you “lay your bets on the table” with an IntelliFinishing design.

    Click to Enlarge - Point of Use - Complete Finishing System
    We can create a Lean layout for your finishing system that incorporates point of use into your production process. Click to enlarge.
  9. No wasted movement of conveyor:
    Our IntelliFinishing system, used by top manufacturers, offers your production line the ability to save on everyday wear and tear, plus maintenance costs, by not continuously running. If a part, or trolley is not present in a zone, the conveyor doesn’t run. We’re serious about saving companies as much as we can, unlike those other “jokers”.
  10. Reduction in floor space: 
    IntelliFinishing “ups the ante” when you require a system that WILL fit into your available space, and we have proven it. One of our customer’s was told there was NO way they could fit an automated finishing system into the small space they had available. Our IntelliFinishing complete finishing system was designed just for that space, installed into that space and has been producing finished parts for more than two years! We have decreased floor space requirements by up to 43% in some instances (this was a large system install).
  11. Uses shuttles and deadhead turns:
    The use of shuttles and deadhead turns eliminates the need for large radius turns in your conveyor system, again resulting in reduced floor space. Our unique shuttle negates the need for huge turns to accommodate large part maneuverability and allows for easy expansion with no production downtime when you are ready to expand. We are “all in” when it comes to helping our customers save time, money and manpower when choosing a finishing system.

    Space Saving Shuttle Video
    Shuttle and deadhead turns eliminate large radius turns resulting in reduced floor space usage.

Choosing a Conveyor

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Conveyors for Finishing Systems

The selection of a conveyor for your powder coating system or liquid paint system at your manufacturing plant should be based on the features and benefits of each of the conveyors, part and process requirements, as well as your business goals.

There are three types of automated overhead conveyors typically used in finishing systems:

  • Monorail conveyors
  • Power and Free conveyors
  • IntelliFinishing conveyors

The layout should be configured to move parts from the loading point in the fabrication area through the finishing system to the unloading point in the assembly or shipping area. The goal is to minimize wasted movement, damage to the parts and personnel while providing the desired finished quality.

Monorail Conveyor Description

Overhead Monorail Conveyor
A monorail conveyor is simple and efficient but lacks flexibility.

Overhead monorail conveyors have the load-carrying and the drive functions combined in one element—the endless chain. The chain is guided by a rail system based on either an I-beam or an enclosed track. A take-up unit ensures that the chain is pulled tight as it leaves the drive unit. A caterpillar drive or sprocket drives the chain. Parts are suspended from the chain by special attachments or load bars. This conveyor can follow only one path. No other paths or spurs for masking, maintenance, labeling, loading or unloading are typically part of a monorail conveyor system.

Advantages: simple, efficient, low initial cost, best used for a single type of part and process

Disadvantages: no layout flexibility for part variety or process changes, any line stop or breakdown stops entire conveyor, no ability to stop for a process (masking, touch-up, labeling) without stopping entire conveyor, chain maintenance, take-up unit adjustment and monitoring, lubrication can cause issues with the quality of the parts, noisy

Video:
Monorail Conveyor

Power and Free Conveyor Description

Picture of power and free
Power & Free conveyors use a two-rail system and pusher dogs to allow for more flexibility than a monorail system.

Overhead power and free conveyors are two-rail systems. The trolley is the load-carrying element and is located below the chain. The trolleys use the lower “free rail” and the chains are in the upper “power rail.” Pusher dogs establish the connection between chain and trolley and can be engaged (dogging and de-dogging) and disengaged as needed. The “free rail” can be equipped with switches, lifting stations or stops to allow the trolleys to follow different paths, or be lifted or lowered, stopped or moved at different speeds throughout the system. The entire conveyor system is PLC-controlled.

Advantages: flexible layouts for variety of parts and processes, stop and start, multiple speeds, reduction in personnel since parts may be stopped, trolleys can be buffered, part tracking, integration to ERP, process recipes

Disadvantages: higher initial cost than monorail conveyor, any line stops or breakdowns stop entire conveyor, more layout options require more chain, return chain, speed changes require multiple chains and drive motors, chain maintenance, take-up unit adjustment and monitoring, lubrication can cause quality problems, part swing since there is no accelerate or decelerate, no ability to reverse direction reduces layout options, no ability to reverse when there are problems requires complete chain to be stopped, noisy

Videos:
Dog Magic Chain Conveyor (Daifuku North America)
Power & Free Conveyors (Daifuku Webb)

IntelliFinishing Conveyor Description

IntelliFInishing Spinning Tube Friction Drive Conveyor
An IntelliFinishing conveyor system provides ultimate flexibility using a spinning tube friction drive requiring no chain.

The IntelliFinishing conveyor provides even greater flexibility than power and free because the movement of the trolley is performed with a spinning tube by a small motor. Each section or zone of an IntelliFinishing conveyor may be independently controlled with a variable frequency drive (VFD) and the entire system is PLC-controlled. Data handling and smart controls with recipes for a variety of parts provide even greater flexibility and automation. With “no chain”, driving the system, many of the issues like maintenance, noise, chain jams, take-up problems, lubrication ruining finished parts, de-dogging, floor space for return chain, etc. are not an issue for an IntelliFinishing automated finishing system. The trolley (propelled by the spinning tube) moves forward and reverse which provides more layout options and decreases production stoppage and downtime when compared to power and free conveyor system.

Advantages: flexible layouts for a variety of parts and processes, stop and start, multiple speeds, can stop individual motor sections independent of each other allowing remainder of conveyor system to run, reduction in personnel since parts may be stopped, trolleys can be buffered, part tracking, integration to ERP, process recipes, accelerate, decelerate, reverse, minimal maintenance and no chain lubrication, reduction in floor space, lower energy and resources since processes run only when a part is present, expandable, modular and moveable, more adaptable for lean manufacturing

Disadvantages: higher initial cost than monorail conveyor, more options may cause increase in costs because of drives and motors, limitations on inclines and declines, larger elevation changes require lift sections

Videos:
IntelliFinishing System Overview
IntelliFinishing Shuttle for Large Parts
IntelliFinishing Paint System at Raytheon

 Advantages of Overhead Conveyors

Monorail

  • simple
  • efficient
  • low initial cost
  • best for single part/process
Power & Free

  • flexible layouts
  • stop & start
  • multiple speeds
  • buffering
  • part tracking
  • integration to ERP
  • process recipes
IntelliFinishing

  • flexible layouts
  • stop & start
  • multiple speeds
  • buffering
  • stop sections without stopping whole line
  • part tracking
  • integration to ERP
  • process recipes
  • accelerate
  • decelerate
  • reverse
  • minimal maintenance
  • no lubrication
  • reduction in floor space
  • expandable
  • modular
  • moveable

Disadvantages of Overhead Conveyors

Monorail

  • no layout flexibility
  • chain maintenance
  • take-up adjustment
  • lubrication
  • noisy
Power & Free

  • higher initial cost (vs. monorail)
  • chain maintenance
  • take-up adjustment
  • lubrication
  • noisy
  • more layout options require more chain
  • return chain
  • part swing
IntelliFinishing

  • higher initial cost (vs. monorail)
  • limitation on incline & decline

Do you love your paint system?

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An IntelliFinishing complete paint system is more "LEAN" than a box of "sugar-free" chocolates.
An IntelliFinishing complete paint system is more “LEAN” than a box of “sugar-free” chocolates.

IntelliFinishing…more LEAN than a sugar-free box of chocolates

Many manufacturers are implementing lean manufacturing practices into their workplaces and are gaining an advantage over their counterparts in the industry.

Although traditional fixed conveyor systems have been one of the leading factors in lean management over the last two decades, they have lost their luster—not just to those who control the purse strings, but also for engineers who have long dealt with the headaches of inflexible systems, long lead times and production shutdowns while the systems are installed.

Having a lean finishing system just makes sense. In traditional systems, processes are dependent on the processes of the others. If a part needs more time in the oven, washer or another process, and you slow down the conveyor to change the process time, then you may experience a reduction in production throughput, create quality issues, increase labor costs (operators waiting for parts) and inventory issues.

We consider our IntelliFinishing automated paint system to be lean because it eliminates these issues.

Modular and Customizable

It’s modular and highly customizable. Our finishing system’s conveyor is a bolted together, floor-supported system with friction-driven trolleys on a rotating tube instead of a chain. No return chain dramatically decreases floor space usage. An IntelliFinishing system easily expands and adapts to changes in your process or production. Plus each customer has the option to design specifically for their requirements.

Optimizes Workflow

This system optimizes workflow through the unique movement capabilities of the conveyor, load accumulation and effective sequencing for highly variable processing in areas such as drying or curing. Each part recipe is different and may require a different cure time. It is one of only a few systems that can deliver parts in a desired different sequence than the way parts were loaded. You can also expand your system to point of use, e.g. assembly.

Built-in control technology can change the destination of products, set up in-line speed changes or stop carriers for processing without stopping production. No more slow zones or wasted time. The controls of an IntelliFinishing complete finishing system recognize specific part recipes, tracking and adjusting for variations in components and processes. Integration with your ERP system provides an even smoother responsiveness to your production schedule.

If you are in the market for a lean paint system, check out our videos and contact us today!

A Plan for Every Part

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A Plan for Every Part©

Ever wish you had a different finishing line for every type of part you have to paint or powder coat? Large heavy parts take more time to process than small thin ones. Some parts require additional masking and others don’t. Different chemistry is required for different types of metals… the list seems to be endless.

IntelliFinishing has presented to a variety of audiences recently and manufacturers are impressed with the “Plan for Every Part©” technology. Each item you process gets the best finish available, just like the system was built specifically for that part.

Unlike traditional finishing systems where the system is built for your longest or heaviest part, which results in over-baking of other parts; the IntelliFinishing finishing system provides capabilities that are unmatched in the finishing industry.

With conveyors that move load bars of parts at varying speeds which are based on the parts’ unique size and material, an IntelliFinishing system offers capabilities in ONE LINE that would take MULTIPLE LINES for traditional systems. Customers have been amazed at what can be accomplished with layouts that are not limited by a one-way, one-speed conveyor.

The IntelliFinishing system is not for everyone.

  • Do you finish a variety of sizes of parts?
  • Do you finish parts that are made from different materials?
  • Do your processes for finishing ever change?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then you may want to see how an IntelliFinishing system is rocking the world of finishing. Contact us at info@intellifinishing.com.

Part II: Changing the “Game”! – Improving Paint System Design

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The capabilities of the IntelliFinishing turnkey system are numerous, as are the features this system has.  Having the ability to move parts in individual areas forward and backward, as well as moving at different speeds, without affecting the rest of your line has been a key element in understanding the savings benefit of the IntelliFinishing System.  Not only does this save in floor space usage, it also saves in energy costs, and chemical and water usage.

Imagine if you could only drive your vehicle in the forward direction, at one speed which is based on the vehicle driving in front of you…this scenario limits your abilities to get where you want to go. So why have a finishing system with that same limitation? Give us a call at 888-886-6363 or email us at info@intellifinishing.com. We’ll take the time to talk to you about your needs, answer any questions you have about the IntelliFinishing System and design a system that meets and exceeds your expectations.