- Press Brake (Accurpress)
Bartco Lighting (Huntington Beach, CA) is a manufacturer of spec-grade linear fluorescent and LED lighting fixtures supplying the world’s hospitals, colleges, museums, retail stores, office buildings, and similar institutions. Recently the company launched a comprehensive Lean Six Sigma program designed to improve manufacturing speed, efficiency and productivity.
Achieving such results requires a willingness to invest in machinery and leading software.
A Need for Improvement
Press Brake operation was identified as an area of focus. Bartco’s Bending operations include three Accurpress Press Brakes (6’, 8’, 10’). Tooling changes were averaging 25 minutes and there were approximately 6 changeovers per machine with each shift. With on-time completion floundering at the 20% level improvements had to be made.
The company launched a Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) initiative to reduce tooling change-over time. A primary component of the project involved moving offline as many operations as possible. Press brake programming represented the most significant opportunity for productivity improvement.
“The exercise allowed us to better understand, control, and gain press brake capacity,” explained Efren Saenz, Director of Operations at Bartco. “The next move was to schedule to press brake capacity and then back schedule the turret presses. We did not try to schedule to turret capacity, but rather allowed the brake schedule to pull in production from the turrets.”
95% On-Time Completion
Bartco’s Press Brake improvement initiative has yielded measurable gains in manufacturing speed and efficiency. SigmaBEND software was a key component of the project’s success in reducing setup time from 25 minutes to 5 minutes or less. Implementing SigmaBEND, combined with an ability to schedule to press brake rather than turret presses helped improve on-time completion in the Metal Shop from 20% to a staggering 95%.
“There was no magic bullet,” said Saenz. “Achieving such results requires a willingness to invest in machinery and leading software tools while also identifying and adopting best practices. But for companies willing to commit to change the results are well worth it all.”