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Lean Automation

Lean manufacturing principles and automation systems can coexist, although many lean purists contend that lean goals conflict with using automation. Smart applications of automation, however, can result in deployment of systems that are both automated and lean, with flexible manufacturing systems that can be easily reconfigured as factory operations change.

Micromanufacturing is Growing

Many industries have been making parts with micron dimensions for some time, but in the last few years, the market for miniaturization has expanded. The demand is not only for small parts, but also for small complex features on larger parts. This is due chiefly to the switch to modules in which the functions of several parts or subsystems are not handled by a single complex unit.

Advanced Technologies Supplement: Processes Reduce Composite Costs

Composites engineers are expanding their craft to build more complex, durable parts at higher production volumes. One way they are achieving this objective is by using infusion-molding processes based on Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) and Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM).

Standardized Work

Taiichi Ohno is often quoted as declaring: “Without a standard, there can be no improvement.” The principles of lean do not work well when everyone is allowed to choose their own work method or work sequence in which to do a job: the outcome is unpredictable; flow and pull are impossible. This reduces throughput and the carefully crafted process develops unanticipated outcomes.

Automation in Lean Manufacturing

Common misperceptions about lean manufacturing and automation systems lead many manufacturing managers to dismiss the use of automation in a lean setting.

Cutting Tools for Composites

Machining composites presents unique challenges compared to metals. Reinforcement fibers are abrasive, shortening tool life. The plastic matrix carries away little heat, unlike metal chips, and overheating can melt the matrix.

Delta Unveils World’s First Anti-Microbial Cooling Tower

(Roxbury Twp., NJ) Legionella, the bacteria that causes potentially fatal Legionnaire’s Disease, and other strains of deadly pathogens that are hosted by some cooling towers, have been substantially reduced by the development of a unique anti-microbial HDPE material introduced by Delta Cooling Towers (deltacooling.com) on September 1, 2016.