Accomplishment 1: Design For Manufacturing

1 Mar


(C) Mahzad Pakzad, April 2011

(C) Mahzad Pakzad, April 2011

226046_211033478915086_3664285_nI designed a PLM system on my own, by myself, in order to enable justification of Assembly Line Automation!

It was 1985, after one year working as methods and manufacturing engineer, supporting manufacturing operations, equipment maintenance in a certain areas assigned to me, plant service lines as needed, or working with others in the team, I started working on my manager’s five year plan project list. My “Task” was to evaluate feasibility, identify opportunity, justify, & manage development, and installation of automated work cells, on 3 assembly lines with a couple of hundreds of operators on each line, in addition to my responsibility to support manufacturing floor.

2 of the assembly lines were producing 3 different sizes, 300+ different models of room air conditioners, for brand names like Frigidaire, White Westinghouse, Sears, JC Penny,…. The Challenges:

1- Through the years, per customers’ requests, designers had added new models, creating a very complex configuration for each unit size. The IT department had captured the variation, but had not developed a system to organize and evaluate the variation of design as configuration management; And I needed this to evaluate the flexibility and the complexity required from the automation!

2- When analyzing the operators on line to identify what kind of a system I needed to replace the manual operations, I realized that operators were using personal judgment and hammers to force parts into their place, in several areas. This, inconsistency of incoming parts, was and for many of our industries today is the root cause of assembly failure or machine down time!

To be continued!


1- After talking with designers, I realized that they had not kept track of what varies and why, but they did agree to help me with standardization, as I needed it, if I specifically told them what I wanted! I started talking with our IT manager, hoping that he could re-design our BOM and ERP, so I could organize and arrange the configuration for evaluating the variation of components among each unit size. Unfortunate for me, our IT manager (Bharat), put me down with the statement: No one else in the company needs what you are asking for, and I do not have time for it!

So, I started my own data base on Excel! And for each project that I was working on, I generated a list exploring the variations in dimensions, for geometries/parts that I needed to hold and manipulate during the automated operation. We are talking lengths, widths, diameters, thicknesses, variation of screws, and small and big, all parts for about 300 models within a unit size.

I ended up with working with suppliers, as well as designers, in order to standardize component variations.

2- I started working with feeder departments for evaluating why we had inconsistent quality coming out of their departments. After realizing their issues, I ended up performing capability and capacity studies there, and focused on re-organizing and developing/implementing continuous improvement, and automation projects there, in order to control the quality that was delivered to assembly line.

I did the same with purchased parts, developed a list of issues and a wish list, and worked on them with each supplier.

To be continued 2!


One Response to “Accomplishment 1: Design For Manufacturing”

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