The quick changeover is something we work on for our clients that are trying to eliminate waste. A quick changeover is an enabler of many other Lean Strategies. The time a changeover should take really depends on the complexity of the equipment, but a 10-minute changeover is fairly typical.

Why is time so critical?

The goal of a quick changeover is to minimise machine downtime. Processing time increase when changeover times are reduced. It also means that smaller lots can be manufactured without the need to hold large amounts of inventory.

Tips to improve changeover time

Having equipment stored correctly and efficiently is key to fast changeovers and 5S is a key tool, click here to find out more about 5S. Wherever possible colour-code tools to aid in fast identification. Try to eliminate bolts, they slow down the process. Use dies, jigs and fixtures wherever possible.

Keeping everything needed for the set-up close by will help to minimise movement and provide valuable time savings.

A massive improvement in changeover time can be achieved by moving the internal operations out of the machines downtime.  Standardise and document both internal and external operations.

Lastly, keep a focus on continual improvement, never be satisfied with current changeover times, there is always room for improvement. Encourage staff to offer their ideas.