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Shi final sphering machine

The Shiftnal, a 26-year-old sphering machine used for the production of a range of larger castings, is one of the oldest machines at the plant.

The TPM team responsible for the Shiftnal has now developed a detailed refurbishment plan, having almost completed the TPM cycle. Through the implementation of TPM, the machine has been brought up to PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) standard, with the use of two button start, guarded off areas and asset care with a cleaning and preventive maintenance schedule.

Other key improvements include:

• Total cost saving OEE improved by 25 per cent. The team are now targeting areas of poor OEE by product and problem type.

• Cycle time improved by 6 per cent, equating to the production of an extra sixteen castings per day with a potential sales value of over £30 000. The improvement was implemented though the introduction of a sphere position switch, costing just a few pounds.

• Changeovers speeded up by the production of tool kits, so that all items required for each casting type are readily available and labelled.

A variety of other time-saving methods have been put in place. For example, to check the torque reading of the casting, the operator, Norman Jameson, had to lift the heavy metal casting into a vice set upon the workbench. At

Norman's suggestion, the vice was set down into the bench so that he can slide, instead of lift, the casting into it - an improvement costing £20 which has had a significant impact on health and safety by improving the ergonomics of the process.

PGM core machine

The PGM core manufacturing machine moulds resin-enriched sand which is then used in the casting process. Prior to TPM, there were chronic losses in the process, including unplanned downtime, quality and excessive waste.

A series of more than twenty improvements have been made by the TPM team to date, including:

• Making a bolt box, costing only £2, which has led to an annual time saving equivalent to £624

• Replacement of valves and gauges in the amine gas system

• Clearing out the sand pit that had formed at the base of the machine. Prior to attention from the TPM team, aptly named the Beach Boys, sand was allowed to build up to waist height before being cleared. As well as getting at the source of sand spillage, any surplus sand is swept away regularly and dropped tools no longer accumulate under the mound of sand

• Installation of a blow plate. An initial cost of £50 represents an annual cost saving of £936

Team achievements

• Total cost saving doubling the OEE

• Average set-up time reduction of 30 minutes per event

• 88 per cent reduction in scrap

The machine will be moved to a location which incorporates bulk storage of raw materials - a need highlighted by TPM activities. The project will also address new environmental legislation concerning emissions of the gas used as a raw material.

The new set-up will save hours in changeover times, due to the use of quick-release fittings and supplier involvement in changeovers, as well as dramatically reducing leaks.

Valued at £80 000, the project has received £30 000 funding from NSK - a testament to its commitment to the work of the Beach Boys team.

Quotable quotes

The key to TPM is making it easy to do things right and difficult to do things wrong.

John Smith, Team Leader, Machine Shop

Ask the operator to get involved in maintenance and there will be a pride of ownership that lasts way beyond completion of the actual maintenance task.

Bob Tormay, Group Leader, Foundry

Before TPM we were just issued jobs - no input asked for, no feedback given. Now we get feedback in our TPM meetings and have a much more responsible role because of the team-working.

Graham Wignall, Fitter, Beach Boys team

Immediate objectives

• £500 000 of further cost savings

• Reduce unit costs to give a total reduction of 35 per cent over two years to the end of 1998, enabling RHP to compete in Asian markets

• TPM applied to all key processes

• Reinforcing 5S/CAN DO discipline

• Trialling of new TPM database to run alongside Mainpac, which will record fault history. All twelve critical machines in machine shop to be recorded on database, from current three

• All site staff involved in TPM by the end of 1998

• Run awareness workshop with new team members

• Coaching existing teams

• Each team to have a mentor from management team

• Teams to have forum for sharing ideas

• Team responsibility for setting own objectives and sign-off required before moving to the next stage

• Standardizing of TPM activity boards

4.0 The future for TPM

RHP Blackburn's continued commitment to TPM is echoed by its mission statement for 1998: 'To secure our future through the development of our people, plant and processes, in order to achieve the company vision of becoming a world-class organization.'

A priority for this year is the retraining of team members. As TPM has developed at the plant, enthusiasm for results has meant that steps in the process have sometimes been skipped. The training will refocus the teams to the seven-step process and emphasize the need for obsessive attention to detail.

Just like the individual teams, the TPM development at RHP is evolutionary, reaching and then maintaining new levels of best working practices. As Plant Manager, Danny McGuire, concludes: 'The greatest asset we have at RHP Blackburn is our people. It is they who have made TPM work and it is TPM which has allowed their potential and enthusiasm to be tapped.'

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