Reduce Costs by Improving Staffing Utilization
The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada required a Weld Shop Simulation tool to optimize line speeds and buffer sizes at their Cambridge plant. The objective of the simulation would be to determine a set of line speeds and buffer sizes for a group of up to six Zone 3 processes, feeding a single Zone 2 process.
The ideal combination of these parameters would allow the stations to continue to meet process supply requirements while reducing costs by improving staffing utilization.
Visual8 designed the Weld Shop Simulation tool to run through multiple permutations on an range of line-speeds and buffer sizes inputs, and then present a list of possible solutions to the user. The Toyota team would then examine for feasibility and cost/benefit for implementation at the plant.
The simulation models Toyota’s weld shop operations that incorporate each Zone 3 operation in the group being studied, the Zone 2 operation this group is feeding, and the buffers between the Zone 3 and Zone 2 stations. Using a user defined interface, the following inputs were specified by the user:
- Line-speed values for each Zone 3 process and the single Zone 2 process,
- Buffer sizes for each buffer between Zone 3 operations and Zone 2, and
- Downtime data for each operation including Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) and Time to repair as a distribution for Zone 2 and Zone 3 processes.
Initial trial runs were performed using the input data provided by Toyota. The trials ran through the specified range of permutations and produced a set of possible solutions that met the desired objective.
The Toyota Weld Shop Simulation tool provided the engineering team the ability to refine their line-speed and buffer sizes, which resulted in improvements in operator utilization and associated cost savings.