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Lean in a Welding/Pressure Vessel Shop Environment

Lean in a Welding/Pressure Vessel Shop Environment

Lean in a Welding/Pressure Vessel Shop Environment

Has anyone had experience implementing lean in a pressure vessel fabrication shop, and if so can you give me a few pointers?

To my mind, it would start at the design phase (specifying the right material, good joint design etc) but would also encompass the welding economics side (cost of consumables, eliminating over welding, tracking duty cycle and operating factor, etc).

If anyone has any ideas on how to begin, they would be greatly appreciated.  


RE: Lean in a Welding/Pressure Vessel Shop Environment

It's a broad field, with lots of "philosophies" to apply.  If you have a high-mix/low-volume shop, you have a special set of challenges.

My Manufacturing Systems training tells me to start with a all the basics:
  • research & study the lean philosophies...plenty plenty of sources for that
  • sell the managers, if possible, to get their support to make a cultural change
  • apply 5S methods to clean up & organize things
  • perform rigorous process mapping and/or value stream mapping (see lean.org for resources) to discover what really goes on in your shop to get something out the door
  • start thinking:  "eliminate waste in all functions & processes" and start looking for ways to improve (beware:  folks tend to resist "change for improvement" because they perceive a desire to change as a criticism of their current methods)
  • start working on process flow improvements, layout improvements, etc., that may involve some aspect of group technology analysis (but keep in mind it may be too expensive or disruptive to do a lot of machinery moving)
  • start tracking data to validate how your changes are doing (inventory levels, cycle times, labor burdens, etc.)
  • repeat all

Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering

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