Organizing the working area.

Author:Rose, Steve
Position:Shop Talk

In my business of CNC training, I've visited many shops. I've seen some interesting practices and some great ideas during my visits to machine shops throughout the country. We recently presented a CNC training class in California at a facility that has implemented an organizational plan, which to me makes a lot of sense.

This company evaluated the time spent by each shop employee looking for tooling during a machine setup. Then, it implemented a company-wide process to easily locate items and then return them to their proper place.

Now this concept was of immediate interest to me. If you didn't know, my favorite Beatles song is "I'm a loser." Don't give anything to me for safekeeping. Anything I touch, I lose. So techniques to reduce my "losing" tendencies must be of help.

The machine work area in this shop was laid out very well. Each machine had a wooden pegboard on which was painted the outline of each individual tool. The background was white and the outline of each tool was bright red.

When the tool was removed from the pegboard the bright red shape was a visible reminder that the tool was in use and needed to be put back after use.

The workbench by each machine had been given similar treatment. Outlines of micrometers and dial calipers had been painted. There was also space for additional measuring equipment that may be required.

I was impressed by an interesting, yet simple idea for storage of hex (Allen) wrenches. A complete set of metric and inch Allen wrenches was affixed to the headstock of the machine with a large strip magnet. Prior to fixing the magnet to the machine some enterprising person had spray-painted all the metric keys in red and all the inch keys in white.

This concept dramatically reduces the time the setup staff spends sorting out wrenches. Generally both metric and inch wrenches are required at the machine (metric for the machine and inch for the tooling), so why not be able to easily see the difference.

What is it costing in real dollars when...

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