Scheduling a Precision Forge in a Lean Manufacturing
Inc. is one of the few companies in the world capable
of producing precision, near-net shape forgings (near
final part dimensions) from what have come to be known
as the "super-alloys" --- titanium, cobalt-chrome,
and other non-ferrous metals, as well as a number
of types of stainless steel. These materials are ideally
suited where high strength, light weight, exceptional
durability, or non-corrosive-ness are required; this
includes such wide-ranging applications as orthopedic
implants, aerospace, automotive, and sports equipment.
for example, the production of a typical orthopedic
implant. A billet of super-alloy is cut to shape (cylindrical,
prismatic, or other simple solid), then precision
forged, finished, and packaged. Our concern is the
precision forging process, which consists of heating
and forging the billet.
the detailed operation of a forge station is determined
by the experience of the operator. The operator intuitively
determines how many billets are placed into which
furnace, for how long, and how this activity is coordinated
with the operation of the forge which involves loading
a heated billet, striking the billet one or more times
(in the vernacular, one or more "blows"), and extracting
the forged part.
is to analyze and optimize the detailed operation
of the forge station in the context of a lean manufacturing
environment. This means developing a lean schedule
for the station processes so as to ensure that the
lot in question is produced in the least amount of
time. (For more information on lean manufacturing,
project deliverable would be a recommendation for
the detailed operation of the forge station for a
given part (to be specified by Jet at the start of
the project). Ideally, the recommendation would be
derived from a computer model (implemented as an Excel
spread sheet for example) that would allow Jet engineering
personnel to perform what-if analyses of the recommended
schedule as well as develop similar lean schedules
for other parts.
for this project will be Eric Torng, Associate Professor
of Computer Science and Engineering.
summary prepared by R. E. Svetic with the assistance
of J. E. Thomas, Safety, Health & Environmental/Training
Manager, and B. E. Leyrer, Vice-President, Manufacturing
Director, Jet Engineering, Inc., Lansing, MI.
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