It Can be Done: What To Do in a Critical Manufacturing Situation

These are unprecedented times and we at PaR Systems and OakRiver Technology continue to be inspired by the response of this community in the face of so much change and uncertainty. As providers of manufacturing technology that enables and supports our customers and their workforce, we have spent a lot of time thinking how manufacturers can best approach urgent increases in product demand and/or new operational requirements.  When stress is high, timelines are tight and results are essential, we have found that taking a methodical approach to define the challenge will lead to a significantly more robust and reliable solution.

If your company is facing an urgent demand increase or new production requirements, what steps should you take?

  1. Define your manufacturing challenge:
    • Capacity
    • Shortage of skilled labor
    • Quality control
    • New market requirement
    • New product introduction
  2. Identify the root cause(s) of your manufacturing challenge:
    • Bottlenecks
    • Reliability of tools/fixtures/equipment
    • Difficult to control processes
    • Product verification
    • Existing manufacturing lines don’t have the new capability
  3. List, and start to evaluate your options.
    • Provide your staff with additional training
    • Develop duplicate tools/fixtures/equipment
    • Add new steps to your manufacturing process
    • Identify potential product design changes
    • Consider a new semi-auto or fully automated machine
  4. Identify business dynamics:
    • Document your desired timeline
    • Identify your budget constraints
    • Identify and document preparation implementation tasks
    • Identify other support requirements
  5. Consider contacting a trusted manufacturing equipment partner who can provide operational flexibility and a relatively quick turnaround.

The following case study illustrates how this process led to a successful resolution of a critical situation at a major medical device company.  

Situation analysis:

  1. Manufacturing Challenge: quality control issue causing product failures
  2. Root Cause: product’s metal rings not being positioned correctly within its plastic housing
  3. Option Evaluation: one course of action was determined to be the addition of a verification step within their manufacturing line to inspect for the critical positioning
  4. Business Dynamics: line-down situation required immediate action and an all-hands-on-deck approach
  5. Partner Selection: the customer reached out to OakRiver Technology & PaR Systems

Solution: The equipment solution we built allowed production to continue by performing verification and inspection of critical components while saving images and data for future analysis. This provided the engineering team with the evaluation tools required to make ongoing improvements to product design and their manufacturing processes. Ultimately, this enabled the medical device manufacturer to improve their product yields while reducing scrap and re-work. The Vision Inspection System project was completed in only 4 weeks and included complete design, software development, procurement, assembly, and check-out, with 1 additional week for CE-compliance testing. 

The final Vision Inspection System included:

  • Automatic inspection of metal rings inside a plastic housing for several critical features, including concentricity, diameter, and angles
  • X-Y-Z Stages
  • Goniometers
  • Device fixtures
  • Inspection camera
  • Vision lighting
  • Visual Basic software with touchscreen HMI

The team at PaR and OakRiver was able to apply unique experience, capabilities, technologies and process know-how related to these specific assembly applications:

  • Vision inspection
  • Part handling: wide-range of techniques critical for ‘small’ life science applications
  • Robotics & high-precision motion
  • Web handling & winding
  • Test tube handling: labeler and capper systems for automated lab testing

PaR Systems, OakRiver Technology and our ownership group have invested heavily in our team, tools and technology to mobilize resources to support our MedTech clients during these unprecedented times. Our expertise in assembly and automation technologies can help manufacturers with urgent requirements ramp much needed production. PaR and OakRiver are here for you and available to support your essential and time sensitive requirements.

CONTACT PaR Systems and OakRiver Technology today, we are here to help.

About PaR Systems, LLC

PaR Systems, a portfolio company of the Pohlad family’s operating companies (http://www.pohladcompanies.com/), is a world leader in providing advanced production technology solutions for critical assembly automation, material handling, and robotic applications that drive customer quality, safety, and productivity. Since 1961, PaR has created has created both semi-automated and fully-automated systems for the enhanced production manufacturing operations, for a broad range of industries including life science and process automation, aerospace, hazardous material/nuclear, marine/defense, heavy material handling, and industrial. PaR Systems is headquartered in Minnesota, USA and has engineering and manufacturing centers of excellence around the globe. Our subsidiary, OakRiver Technology, has decades of experience servicing the life science and medical technology industries. For more information on PaR Systems, please visit www.par.com.

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