Flexible manufacturing solutions
Businesses that have the capability of producing a wide variety of products but with little or no changeover time have real advantage over their competition. ITCM has significant experience creating modular machine designs that enable processes to remain flexible in a fast-changing environment. Rigid automation solutions do not adapt as needs change. As product lifecycles shorten and continuous improvement programmes constantly refine the process and product, ITCM provides flexible manufacturing solutions to meet these challenges.
For example, we develop solutions to reduce changeovers from hours to less than 10 minutes on liquid or powder filling lines. We design solutions to produce a wide variety of different formats of medical devices and other complex assemblies in a single cell, with changeover facilitated by just the press of a button on the operator panel. In addition, we replace highly manual processes with repeatable low-variation robotic solutions.
Large batches and long production runs decrease supply chain performance. Cycle time, inventory, and overproduction are persistent problems. Late-stage customisation allows for a wide family of products to be produced on the same line, with minimal or zero changeover time. The philosophy supports the principles of Lean Manufacturing and can be used to enable ‘one-piece flow’ and ‘pull production systems’ in an automated environment.
We evaluate process requirements for product families and determine the best way to reduce or eliminate the impact of changeovers. A key principle is to identify the specific process(es) that differentiates a product from others in the family or range. ITCM then designs innovative solutions to give maximum flexibility in these processes. Rethinking traditional processes is the key to finding breakthrough gains in productivity. Our experience in late-stage customisation and automation solutions can be the next step in our customers’ Continuous Improvement efforts.
Raw material replenishment
We are experts in the design of auto-splicing systems for production lines using web and reel-based materials, eliminating downtime due to material changes. An innovative material replenishment system ensures a level production output, improves efficiency and eliminates waste associated with frequent machine stoppages. Recently we have developed a robotic solution to replenish carton blanks in a cartoner magazine, allowing the equipment to operate continually with minimal operator interaction.
ITCM has many case studies that cover a wide variety of different technologies and market sectors. Click below for details.
Get in touch with ITCM today:
tel. +44 (0)2476 421100