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Setup Time Reduction


In an effort to reduce setup times on key extrusion equipment and balance thier product mix of high volume products and low volume specialty products, Flexfab of Hastings, Michigan looked to SIMUL8 and NovaSim for a solution.

To improve setup times on their extrusion equipment the team used an algorithm which took into account 24 different changeover characteristics. Each characteristic has associated time requirements and improved production sequencing that could improve total throughput significantly.

Key features of the simulation included:

  1. More than 275 part numbers with unique tooling for each part
  2. Complex labor shifts
  3. Flexible autoclaves with complex loading rules based on volume instead of pieces
  4. Two-part production process with bulk work-in-process inventory

Like many automotive suppliers, trying to balance several high volume products with many very low volume specialty products is a real challenge, especially when custom tooling is required. Through the use of simulation, Flexfab was able to evaluate many different algorithms, production rules and capacity modifications, including the evaluation of new tooling.