Cellular manufacturing is a manufacturing approach that falls within the larger concept of just-in-time or lean manufacturing. The objective of cellular manufacturing is to accelerate work flow by making a wide variety of similar products, while producing the lowest degree of waste possible.
In cellular manufacturing, multiple “cells” are set up in an assembly line fashion. Each cell is comprised of one or more different machines that perform a particular process step. The product moves from one cell to the next, each completing a phase of the comprehensive manufacturing process. Cells are typically arranged in a “U-shape” configuration as this provides the process supervisor with the best vantage point to more readily watch over the entire process. Employees in manufacturing cells are usually cross trained and have the ability to perform multiple tasks as needed.
A key advantage of cellular manufacturing is the amount of flexibility it offers. Fast changes can be made to allow for a production volume adjustments and minor design changes. Even comprehensive product design changes can be accomplished more quickly and accurately.
Manufacturing cells are created by consolidating the processes required to create a specific output. The cells effectively reduce extraneous steps in the process of creating that output, and facilitate quick identification of problems. Employees within the cell can more easily communicate to resolve issues that arise quickly.
Properly implemented, cellular manufacturing has been reported to create reliable and significant gains in productivity and quality, while also decreasing the inventory, space, and lead time required to create a product. Benefits include:
- Reduced setup time
- Reduced work-in-progress
- Lower material handling costs and time
- Shorter material flow distance
- Improved machine utilization
- Shorter lead time
- Improved product quality
- Improved work environment
Nolte Precise has implemented cellular manufacturing strategies for many of our processes, and the result has been significant gains in productivity and cost savings.
While our company is over a century old, we are always seeking ways to upgrade and enhance our performance. Nolte Precise is uniquely positioned to offer the stability and confidence of an experienced supplier, as well as the advantage of being an optimized and forward-thinking manufacturing partner.