SMED - Single Minute Exchange of Die
Being a LEAN technique the whole purpose of the SMED process is to eliminate waste, in this case, production downtime, excess movement and a few more but let's focus here.
The aim is fairly simple, look at what you are doing and identify what things can happen while the machine is still producing, these are called External Operations, they can happen externally to the machine the more things you can do while the machine is producing the better, so that's Step 1.
Step 2, well there is something you just have to do while the machine is stopped, changing dies, tooling feeds that sort of things, these are called Internal Operations, the aim of step 2 is to identify what actions you can take to reduce the time it takes to do these internal operations.
If only you had experts to help you figure these things out, well that's the really great bit, you do! They are your employees, the team already working on the machines and the processes, they already know what to do. Ok so they may not know how to do it but they certainly know what things are stealing time and what things they would do differently if they were 'allowed'.
By far the best method of attacking this problem is with a team approach live on the floor walking, talking and even videotaping the process then, spending some time with the team just taking that video apart bit by bit, it can be a whole lot of fun.
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