The abbreviation SMED stands for Single Minute Exchange of Dies and was conceived by the Japanese Shigeo Shingo, an industrial engineer at Toyota. The SMED method strives for a fast and efficient way to change a production process. By “change” we mean the set of activities required to switch from a current production order to a new production order. The SMED method indicates that each change-over should take less than 10 minutes.
The SMED plan to reduce the change-over time of a system consists of 7 steps. These are as follows:
- The current working method must be critically examined. For example, a film could be made in which you analytically look at the working method through the eyes of the 7 wastages;
- A distinction must be made between ‘externals’ and ‘internals’. An external is something that can be prepared in advance, whereas an internal can only be executed when the production line is at standstill;
- Convert as many internals as possible to externals. For example, next to the production lines, you can heat up the machine parts in advance;
- Optimize the remaining internals so they go faster and reduce wastage. For example, you can use faster tools and fewer bolts;
- Streamline the externals so they take less time during the preparation;
- Document the new procedure in a clear and well-defined guidebook. This way you can see what needs to be done in the future;
- Then repeat the entire step-by-step plan again. There are always new things that can be done faster.
Change-friendly design according to the SMED method
Change-friendly design is very important for the efficiency during a SMED project. By standardizing sizes for instance, there will be less need for change-overs when switching series. In addition, attention can be paid to the order of groups: if a dairy-factory first produces the ordinary yoghurt and then the yogurt with strawberries, no pipes need to be cleaned in between.
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