Realizing sustainable process improvement through an understanding of machine-material interaction: part 1 - a methodology for audit, investigation, and improvement

Ben J Hicks, Jason Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In striving to become world class, manufacturing organizations employ an array of tools and methods to support improvement programmes to increase quality, efficiency, flexibility, and ultimately reduce unit cost and increase capability. However, many of these programmes are destined to fail at the outset, either in part or in full, due to a lack of holistic and fundamental understanding of the production system, its constituent processes, raw materials, and the product. In addition to this deficiency in understanding, there is further frustration caused by a lack of tools and methods that support the generation of such understanding. To address this critical gap, a methodology has been created to support the practitioner in investigating a processing system and what are referred to as machine–material interactions (MMIs). These interactions ultimately relate to the function of the processing system, and it is the complete and fundamental understanding of these interactions that is necessary to successfully apply improvement tools and approaches to deliver targeted and sustainable benefits. This article is the first of two parts which together present the development of the MMI methodology, its practical application to a complex industrial case, and its relationship to the range of manufacturing improvement tools and methods available, such as TQM, RCM, Lean, and Six Sigma. In this article, the development of the methodology is discussed in detail including the key stages of auditing, investigation and improvement. This article concludes with a discussion of the relationships between the knowledge generated by the methodology and the fundamental understanding required for process improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-28
Number of pages17
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering
Volume226
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jun 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • limits
  • modes of failure
  • quality
  • efficiency
  • production systems
  • function

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