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Lean manufacturing in the turbine engine production

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Introduction

University of Bradford School of Management Operations Management Assignment Lean manufacturing in the turbine engine production "I certify that the above coursework is all my own work and does not exceed the word count (3500 words)." Signature: Date: United Kingdom 2007 Table of Contents Abbreviations 1) Introduction 2) What is Lean Manufacturing? * The Lean Focus: Reducing Lead Time by Eliminating Waste * Mass Production and Lean Thinking * Recognizing Waste * A Model of Lean Manufacturing in Aerospace 3) Just in Time Principle * Reengineering of manufacturing process * Reengineering of production space 4) Built In Quality 5) Lean Quality Logistics Supply Chain Conclusion References Appendixes 1-3 3 4 5 8 11 12 15 16 17 Abbreviations JIT - just in time TPS - Toyota Production System TQM - Total Quality Management MRP - Materials Requirements Planning BOM - Bill of Material SPC - Statistical Process Control DPM - Defects Per Million (Opportunities) FIFO - First In First Out RR - Rolls Royce GE - General Electrics P&W - Pratt & Whitney 1. Introduction Rolls-Royce (RR) aerospace division has the large complex business process, part of which concentrates on manufacturing of turbine engines, producing a range of quality world class products [1]. In response to increased orders from the market place and competition, the firm decided to have the lean manufacturing as a standard solution. The best way to understand lean manufacturing is to start with its roots in the Toyota Production System (TPS) [2] - a system that flexibly responded to customer demand and was efficient at the same time. Aerospace turbine engine manufacturing is clearly different from automobiles. The engines are built to order, one or a few at a time over weeks or even months and are often highly customized. So is the model of "lean manufacturing" worth considering? The answer is clearly yes. First, the basic principles of giving customers what they want with shortened lead times by eliminating waste apply to any process, high volume or low volume, customized or standardized. ...read more.

Middle

Figure 6 gives an example of batch processing versus one-piece flow. In the batch processing case some rectangular titanium shapes for a fan blade are cut to create a hollow mainframe of the blade, along with some stiffeners, if any. This is done in large batches which are moved as large batches to be cut into more specific curved shapes. These parts must be sorted before they are cut into the actual shapes needed. This batch cutting leads to a large pile of inventory which must be moved to another buffer and then sorted through to be sub-assembled, and finally the subassemblies are moved and sorted through to get the parts needed to construct the actual blade. Notice how much non-value added work there is on this process all of the moving and storing and sorting is pure waste. The alternative ideal from a lean manufacturing point of view is a pure one-piece flow that is shown in the bottom of Figure 6. In this case you would cut just the material you need, pass it on do the final cutting, pass it on, do the subassembly, pass it on, and build up the blade. While it may not be feasible to make one and move one, the smaller the batch size the better from a lean manufacturing point of view, within feasible limits. Figure 6: Batch process vs. One-Piece Flow in Fan Blade Assembly Process The lean manufacturing is even speed-up by new innovations introduced in the process. Hollow fan blades (Fig. 7) currently enclose a strong, stiff metallic structure to maintain the cross-sectional profile of the blade when subjected to the large forces in flight. Introducing nanotechnology-based process the stiffeners in the blade core are replaced by synthetic foam with nanoscale fillers to stiffen hollow fan on large civil aircraft engines. In the cavity-fill fan concept [11], the light-weigh core replaces this metal structure simultaneously acting as both strengtheners and vibrations reducing elements. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moreover, lean manufacturing requires an enterprise-level view of the value stream from raw materials to the finished engine delivered to the customer. The case study shows that the use of lean practices helped the firms: * improve product design and quality, * reduce assembly tooling and time, * motivate staff to make improvements, * eliminate non-value-added processing steps, reducing production labor hours, * reduce shop cycle times, * reduce work in process levels, * shift from discontinuous to continuous (and even pull) production flow, * reduce production floor space. Due to new aircraft engines programs such as the Trent 11xx and Trent 9xx family, an increasing number of parts will have to go through the quality and logistics organization of the firm. The lean manufacturing also demands an accurate response of the supply chain in quality and timing. The increased supply risk needs to be assured trough more intensive, but selective supplier collaboration and development of the Rolls Royce supplier strategy. Recommendations on the level of JIT and kit deliveries require further study, since these definitions can also be categorized. For example, JIT can vary from an hour up till several days before assembly of the engine start. A sub-assembly (for example, fan blade) can be seen as a kit, but all these parts delivered, unassembled in a box, can also be considered as a kit. The studies in this report have shown that the lean operations can result to reducing waste, speeding delivery, and meeting changing customer requirements. RR has the lean operations and thinks to remain competitive in the business. However, to conclude I wish to post a question: if you work in a hi-tech manufacturing, is your firm changing quickly to make improvements in its operations? If your employer is part of the civil aircraft industry, your competitors are, and your customer expects that you will, too! Rolls Royce Centre located in Sheffield has confirmed to use several aspects of this report to improve the design process and quality assurance logistics in the fan blade materials (Appendix 4). ...read more.

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