Design for Assembly Lines: How to Keep Operators Happy and Productive

How to keep operators happy and productive in the assembly line?

A happy worker is a productive worker; in the manufacturing industry, how an assembly line is designed can significantly impact the operators. There are several ways to optimize your assembly line’s design to help keep operators happy and productive, and we’re here to help you walk through some of these design tips.

Decrease Clutter and Minimize Parts

Lots of materials, parts, and tools in a space can be overwhelming, especially when operators are trying to maintain their work pace. For many, an organized workspace is an efficient workspace, which means decreasing clutter and organizing materials into bins and drawers can be a great way to clear up valuable working space. Operators can focus their attention on the job at hand and avoid having to sort through materials to get the parts they need.

One of the best ways to create clear and open working spaces is by combining parts to minimize parts. By combining certain elements, you can condense the number of items that operators are expected to handle, making it easier for them to remain focused and productive.

Make Parts Easy to Handle and Maneuver

Larger and unusually-shaped parts are harder to handle, especially when work along the assembly line is fast-paced. Whether it’s human assemblers or robots, how different components are designed can significantly impact how they are handled.

To help make it easier for both human workers and robots along the assembly line, creating easy-to-handle parts can improve efficiency during assembling. Components should be designed for easy grasping. Avoid any parts that are very small or flexible. Additionally, pieces should be designed with durability in mind since very delicate parts can be easily damaged simply by being held incorrectly.

Use Built-In Fasteners

Locating the correct screw to fasten two parts together can be a very detailed job, which usually requires more time than applying a built-in fastener. Assembly features should be built directly into the parts whenever possible to avoid the need for any screws.

Snap-fits or other built-in fasteners can be just as secure and do not require any tools to be assembled.

Standardize Your Parts

There is no denying that it’s more confusing and time-consuming to switch between multiple tools than using a single device for an entire process. The best way to avoid this confusion is to standardize the parts across each assembly station and your entire product line. If possible, aim to use a single tool across the whole assembly process. It is also a good idea to make connections between the parts unique so that there is little room for confusion or overlap.

Identify Correct Part Orientation

Some parts will have a right and a wrong direction, and if this is the case, it’s always a good idea to identify the correct orientation of each part that is to be assembled. An even better step would be to create parts that are impossible to make if positioned incorrectly.

Creating simple parts with obvious indicators to help assemblers easily connect them — and keep the building process moving — is the underlying goal of the assembly line.

Replace Straight Lines with U-Shapes

When we think of an assembly line, a straight line from one end of a manufacturing plant down to the other end usually comes to mind. However, a straight line is not necessarily the most efficient shape for an assembly line’s organization. You may find that it’s more productive to use a U-shaped line or curved design.

In a U-shaped line, workers are collected on the inside of the curve, and communication is much easier compared to working along a straight line. The U-shaped assembly line offers several benefits because workers can see the progress of work, what they will receive next, and how soon it will be arriving. With many of the workers collected inside the U-shape, they can perform multiple tasks and operations and communicate with other workers with ease. This results in reduced errors, greater efficiency, and happier employees.

Improve Your Assembly Line

A clear, well-planned workflow is the best way to ensure that all processes are as efficient and straightforward as possible. Any potential mistakes in the assembly line should be identified and corrected during the planning stage to avoid more costly mistakes once the assembly process is operational.

We know the importance of assembly lines and understand that small design changes along the assembly chain can significantly affect efficiency, productivity, and attitude along the line.

At Delta Regis, we are committed to providing the highest quality tools to ensure that your assembly process runs smoothly and effectively. From torque reactions arms to electric screwdrivers, our tools can help your operators increase productivity and accuracy while protecting them from strain and injury.

To learn more about our tools for a more productive assembly line, call Delta Regis Tools at 1-888-733-3142 contact us here.

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