Lean Series Part III: Determining the Amount of Motion Waste in Paint Production Process

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Motion waste refers to the extra physical steps taken by employees and equipment to accommodate inefficient process layout, defects, reprocessing, overproduction or excess inventory. Additional and unnecessary motion takes time and adds no value to the product or service.

Moving and adding value is called work. Moving and not adding value is adding costs to your company and is motion waste.

IntelliFinishing removes motion waste simply by its technology and design. We know we cost more than an average Power and Free system. We are okay with that, because we know the value our completely automated finishing system adds to our customer’s production processes and profit margins.

Here is how we add value and help our customers remove motion waste:

  • SMALL FOOTPRINT
    Many of IntelliFinishing’s system layouts result in a smaller footprint than systems that use overhead monorail conveyors or power and free conveyors. A smaller footprint ultimately means less conveyor to maintain, less floor space operators have to cover and a reduction in the space requirements of your building. An Intellifinishing system can be designed within a smaller footprint because:

    • the conveyor does not have a chain so you don’t have to plan for the return chain
    • our conveyor moves forward and backward allowing you to spur parts to a masking area or load/unload area
    • we use shuttles or deadheads for large parts eliminating the need for large bulb turns
    • we give you flexibility within zones, allowing the conveyor to run faster or slower based on the process, eliminating the need for a large oven
  • LAYOUT DESIGN FLEXIBILITY
    When we are designing systems, we look for ways to share operators and resources between stations. In one system, we were able to position the mask and unmask stations next to each other, allowing for one person to perform both tasks. Frequently, the same resources may be used for loading and unloading since the system can stop in a zone without affecting other areas.
  • SYSTEM OVERVIEW DISPLAY AT ALL HMIs
    Operating stations track each carrier within each zone allowing you to quickly identify any issues and exactly where it is located, saving time and money in motion waste. Work instructions may also be displayed at stations and are useful for masking and labeling instructions.
  • SPEED UP THROUGH NON-VALUE ADDED ZONES
    IntelliFinishing complete paint systems give you the ability to move at variable speeds within zones, along with the value added option to stop the line within a zone or process without affecting the rest of the line, eliminating unnecessary movement of equipment.
  • DECREASED MOVEMENT EQUALS FEWER INJURIES
    With less overall movement by workers and equipment, the chance of injury decreases. Have you ever wondered how beneficial decreased movement can be to your bottom-line? For example, the average back injury (sprain/strain) can cost more than $10,000 in direct costs (National Safety Council Statistics) and anywhere from $30,000 up to $100,000 in indirect cost. The direct cost for all U.S. workers out of work due to Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs is estimated at $13-20 billion annually with indirect costs between $26-110 billion annually.

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