Comparing simulation and value stream mapping for cell layout.
TEAM Precision Pipe Assemblies Ltd., based in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, manufacture a range of complex precision pipework assemblies for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and other fluid handling components for the automotive industry.
TEAM Precision produces over five million parts per year; these pipe assemblies are supplied to a variety of companies including Aston Martin and Bentley. The purpose of the collaborative research project was to support the company to evaluate the process capability of the existing systems in order to identify the current sub optimal performance. The research also aimed to improve lead times through the operations processes.
The pipe assemblies manufactured by TEAM Precision are formed of machined end fittings and are manipulated or bent to meet the customer requirements. The company receive competitive pressure from low cost economies and customers in order to meet stringent quality standards whilst maintaining low unit costs.
TEAM Precision had a desire to identify and implement improvements in throughput time and quality, and to reduce the need for continuous inspection effected and reduced production line effectiveness.
ASTUTE 2020 identified key opportunities for current state mapping of the operations, together with future scenario planning, utilising techniques including value stream mapping (VSM) and discrete event simulations of the manufacturing process.
ASTUTE 2020 supported TEAM Precision to observe and support a VSM exercise. This documented the flow of information or materials required on their production cell. Generating and developing such models allowed the company to explore scenarios and gain a better understanding of a process.
The introduction of a new production cell allowed TEAM Precision to optimise configuration and efficiency of equipment and labour. Lead-times were significantly reduced and factory floor space was freed up, enabling future investments in new production facilities.
The two-way knowledge transfer enabled the company's engineers to identify opportunities for improvement and requirements for expertise. The comparative research highlighted that by combing operational excellence with simulation and finding synergies, these processes complemented one another in an industry 4.0 environment.
Additional benefits arising from the collaboration included:
- reduced scrappage rates
- reduced energy outputs
- increased company turnover
- opportunity for the purchase of new equipment
- production line re-configuration.
The collaboration has allowed TEAM Precision to continue developing expertise and experience in a field that they had little previous knowledge in and will continue to drive the company's future manufacturing productivity.
For more information on this research, contact Anthony Soroka SorokaAJ@cardiff.ac.uk