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Sep 20, 2014

The Power of SMED

1. What is Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)? Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a simple but powerful Lean technique for reducing waste in a manufacturing process. It is a systematic approach that enables organizations to dramatically reduce set-up time or changeover time. It provides a rapid and efficient way of changing the machine set-up in a manufacturing process from one product to another. 2. Why is the SMED important to improving manufacturing flexibility? SMED reduces the set-up time. Long set-up time resulted in a reduced number of set-ups, larger batch sizes and larger buffering work-in-process inventories and poor process flow and performance. Since set-up activities add no marketable form, fit, or function to the product, they are by definition non-value adding. By reducing set-up time, more set-ups can be completed each day, batch size can be correspondingly reduced, flow can be significantly improved. All these improvement will help to improve manufacturing flexibility. 3. What is the history of Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) method? Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) method was pioneered by Mr. Shigeo Shingo since 1950 in Japan, but only became popular to the other part of the world in 1980s. 4. What are the 4 stages of Set-up Reduction? Stage 1. Ensure that external setup actions are performed while the machine is still running, Stage 2. Separate external and internal setup actions, ensure that the parts all function and implement efficient ways of transporting the die and other parts, Stage 3. Convert internal setup actions to external, Stage 4. Improve all setup actions. 5. What is the definition of Internal and External activities? Internal activities are those that can only be performed when the process is stopped, while external activities can be done while the last batch is being produced, or once the next batch has started. Examples of external activities include pre-heating of raw material and preparation of tools before the machine stops. 6. What is the best way to see immediate results when implementing SMED technique? One of the best ways to see immediate result of the technique is to perform a kaizen event using SMED technique on a pilot machine. The kaizen event usually takes about 3 to 5 days and will repeat the 4 stages of SMED over several iterations. A good rule of thumb is to target 50% improvement for each iteration, and repeat the process until the target is achieved. 7. How can SMED helps in Lean implementation? Most people's initial reaction to the quantum improvement brought about by SMED is disbelieved, followed by total acceptance and commitment to Lean transformation. So if you need to gain some ground support and buy-in in your Lean implementation, consider a pilot project on SMED for a good head start!