Success Stories

SMED Success!

SMED Success!

Friday 3rd June 2016

It is with great pleasure and pride that I share the success story of the Tool Change Team from Kestrel BCE in Scunthorpe. We have just wrapped up an 8 week SMED training program with the operational team, which has resulted in a Plant-Wide machine change-over time reduction of 66%.

For those who are not aware, only when machines are running and producing goods to meet sales demand is a company in a position to make money. Most manufacturers are not in the luxurious position of having a single production line per product, so it is required for them to change Dies (Tools) on production lines to manufacture other products. Having quick die exchanges and shorter machine downtime means companies are adding value more frequently, there is less need to batch produce goods and they can be flexible based on the needs of the customer.

'Single Minute Exchange of Die' - shortened to the acronym SMED, should be a staple part of all Operational Improvement programs for Manufacturing Plants. SMED is a Continuous Improvement technique originating from Japan which focuses efforts on reducing machine downtime through the following steps: -

The catagorisation of all actions taken to complete a Tool Change to either Internal (can only be performed with the machine shutdown) or External (can be performed pre or post machine shutdown).
The removal of all External activities of a tool change process from the period of time where the machine is shutdown.
Using problem solving tools and a little innovation, the remaining high impacting Internal activities are forced External, resulting in further reductions in machine downtime.
Finally, with all of the above completed, the remaining Internal activities are innovated to further reduce the time that they may take.
With this methodology, The Kestrel BCE Team have made fantastic improvements. The team now have a plan to follow, which is expected to achieve a 75% reduction in Plant-wide tool change times as they further attack their Internal activities.

If you are interested in knowing more about this program though TakeAim Limited, please contact us at