Ultimate Guide to Production Timers
What is a Production Timer?
Production timers in manufacturing can take on many forms. They may be used to help you count up or down, combined with other Lean manufacturing tools such as Andons, or they may come in a variety of configurations. Essentially, production timers in manufacturing help eliminate waste and maximize production.
What Production Wastes do Timers Eliminate?
Production timers eliminate wastes by providing key information to the shop floor in real time. Here are some of the wastes that production timers help to eliminate:
- Rework waste. By maintaining true and accurate counts of good and bad parts, production timers give operators and supervisors a better understanding of where and when problems arise on the line.
- Overproduction. Again, accurate counts give insights into the station so operators and supervisors may adjust operations to ensure the right flow.
- Transportation. Extra transportation of product increases the chances that damage will occur. Timers can be tied to other software and hardware to signal that the product is ready to move, so it only has to be moved once.
- Inventory. Production timers can provide exact counts so overproduction is eliminated.
- Motion. If a station is down and requires assistance, it can be a huge time waste. With production timers, downtime is counted, and supervisors are more easily able to effect changes to eliminate downtime.
Production Pace Timers
Production pace timers such as the one shown here are commonly used to help operators pace their current cycle to complete tasks on time. Shift information can give insight into the uptime, so downtime doesn’t skew the actual labor productivity numbers. When connected to a display, the timer helps workers at each station to ensure production output is completed at just the right pace, so no station gets ahead or behind, causing costly starts and stops. Real-time monitoring via any internet-enabled device allows supervisors to identify issues on the shop floor any time from anywhere.
Count Up and Count Down Timers
Count up and count down timers are commonly used to time actual work on a manufacturing or assembly task. The timer shown here is used to count "work time" by allowing non-productive time (breaks, end of work-day, weekends, station down, etc.) to be excluded. Monitoring this process with production timers can help supervisors get an accurate picture of both productive and non-productive time. If non-productive time is high, using Lean productivity tools such as 5S, the 5 Whys and SMED can cut it to ensure the highest production output with the least amount of waste. The count up timer shown here is not only configured to display shift information, but it also has dispatch queues set up, so a supervisor or technician can be immediately alerted to problems that slow production.
Repeat timers are commonly used to display real-time production counts. They can be used to monitor production, including batch counts, cycle counts, bad part counts and production output. They are also used to count down from a fixed preset batch goal or count up to the desired batch count to prevent workers from unintentional overrun. The repeat timer shown here lets you set a countdown timer value and a number of repeats. The timer will show you the current timer and the number of times it has counted down.
Production timers can also be combined with Andons like the one shown here. Station operators can signal up to five different conditions from their station, and management can monitor all statuses in real-time from any internet-enabled device. Using Andons with timers can help identify common states that signal problems in the production process.
Multi timers such as this one are useful when multiple tasks are performed at the same station. In this setup, having timers for each task can help to identify issues more easily.
Production timers in the cloud, such as the ones shown here, are accessible from anywhere, anytime, and they allow manufacturers to have fewer people on the shop floor at once while pacing production just right. Look into the Shop Floor IQ platform solution that harnesses the power of technology and gives real-time actionable insights into your lines. Get detailed audit information for each timer cycle, and analyze it for common problems. Find out more about us on our platform page, and get a free trial to see how it works in your environment.
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