May 14, 2010

Kaizen events improving operations at Climate Solutions' Arecibo facility

ARECIBO, PUERTO RICO (INGERSOLL RAND NEWS SERVICE) -- A series of kaizen events held over the past 12 months at the Climate Solutions facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, is helping to balance the assembly process with the current and future load requirements of producing Thermo King truck refrigeration units.

The latest kaizen event was held at the Helium Leak Test Station. The objective: Make the changes necessary to allow the station to perform under the current Takt time – the maximum time, per unit, allowed to produce a product in order to meet demand.

The helium test requires that the unit be filled with helium first, followed by the use of "sniffers" along valves and gas lines to search for leaks. The test concludes with recovering the helium for in-house recycling. The whole operation takes approximately eight-and-a-half minutes. The kaizen team developed a simple method that allows the unit to be pre-filled with helium at a previous station, which allows the Helium Test Station to start the testing cycle immediately. This paradigm shift resulted in a revised cycle time of six-and-a-half minutes.

Previous kaizen events held at the facility have addressed issues such as reducing the time required to assemble more complex models, like the Spectrum Line, Multi-Zones units and the eco-friendly SB 50s. The SB 50s required about four hours of extra labor to assemble, compared with regular units. This was due to the installation of the distinctive electrical engine and related components. Following the completion of kaizen events, the SB 50 units now roll off the assembly line in the same amount of time as regular units.

Managers at the Arecibo facility would like to thank all the employees who have contributed to these kaizens, and who, every day, keep Arecibo moving toward its goal of becoming a world-class manufacturing facility.

Kaizen events are a part of Ingersoll Rand’s Lean Six Sigma (LSS) program. Utilizing the LSS program and tools for continuous improvement is a component of the Ingersoll Rand Business Operating System (BOS) as we strive to achieve operational excellence

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