Assembly concept of the future

Customer in Latin America experiences impressive results

A few samples flown over from the Caribbean, an in-depth analysis of extant production processes on site (done live via video broadcast), a careful study of over two hundred hours of videos shared via an encrypted online platform and a great deal of imagination is all it took for the team at Dr. Schönheit + Partner (S + P) to design the assembly line of the future for a medical devices manufacturer based in Latin America.

S + P was engaged once more by one of the leading medical devices manufacturers worldwide to support the local team at one of its sites in Latin America in the design of a manufacturing concept for a new medical device to be produced en masse for both the U.S. and Latin American markets in the next years. The target was clear: provide a flexible, efficient, and scalable manufacturing concept as an answer to the growth projections as shown in the production forecast for the next ten years. To ensure a smooth implementation of the concept, a management playbook was designed for the ramp-up. The playbook contains all relevant guidelines e.g. process parameters, number of lines, shifts, operators, floorspace, and layout.

Before the start of the project, a pilot line was already in place, which served as a reference point for further workflow, layout, workplace, and equipment optimizations as proposed by S + P. Working with S + P’s established remote approach, travel restrictions originating from the Covid-19 pandemic, were not a challenge for the on-time and in-quality completion. The project actively engaged an interdisciplinary team from the fields of production, industrial engineering, quality assurance, logistics, operational excellence and mechatronics at the customer’s site as well as from the S + P offices in Cologne.

The concept considered low-cost automation of processes and workflows. For this reason, S + P worked as a liaison between the manufacturer and potential suppliers of automation solutions, coordinating the work of twelve engineers working not only at the customer’s site, but also in Germany, Italy, and the U.S. The results were convincing: a total cycle time reduction of 16% was achieved while improving operator efficiency by 37% and increasing output by 18%, occupying 35% less floorspace.

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