Production departments (including our own) and their management can grow complacent and fail to be critical on the results. This particularly applies to injection molding cycle time settings and the performance on this KPI.
The company is footing the bill through overtime pay and revenue loss, and even considers investment in additional production capacity. Meanwhile, a simple output increase could be realized by just being critical of the productions at hand.
The cycle time in injection molding is the total time needed to complete the stages of the molding process:
M-Box helps you to monitor:
You just set the optimized target times (following the optimization steps below) for each mold configuration to the system. When the mould appears on the machine, the corresponding RFID card (unique per mould configuration) is set to the M-Box. Then, if during the production either the cycle time or mould closed time deviates from the target, an instant notification is issued to the supervisor. If it goes unattended, a ticket is generated for handling by the production manager.
Cycle time deviations no longer go unnoticed and are addressed immediately to make sure you produce at optimal output speed.
In our own factory we went through the process of finding the optimal setting for each mold configuration (in combination with the different machines) by simply twisting and tweaking these parameters. We found out that on average the cycle times could easily be reduced with 5-10%, with outliers of up to 25%. Then, on the floor we found that machines often were running up to 50% above the optimal time.
Root causes of the deviations were either sub-optimized processes, insufficient cooling (operators will not address the root cause but simple increase the holding time) or bad operator morale (set the mould open/close runway excessively long and have an easy job).
If the machine hours can be “sold” at typical gross margin levels, a reduction of 5% can yield the following:
|Machine Type (Tones)||Typical Gross Margin per hour|
Additional Productive hours/year
Well, the cycle time is easy to optimize with a critical approach. To ensure that your machines are always running at the optimal cycle time, use a real-time production monitor