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Lean transformation in a high mix low volume electronics assembly environment

Venkatesh Arasanipalai Raghavan (Philips Lumileds, San Jose, California, USA)
Sangwon Yoon (Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York, USA)
Krishnaswami Srihari (Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York, USA)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on integrating a lean framework in a high-mix-low-volume (HMLV) printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) environment to enhance current assembly processes and facility layouts. An HMLV PCBA environment is characterized by stochastic demands, a variety of products in terms of shapes and sizes and different sequences of assembly and test operations, in addition to long cycle times and high fall-out rates.

Design/methodology/approach

Preliminary analysis indicates that the push inventory control system led to the longer cycle times, such that various lean methodologies have been applied to enhance the assembly operations. In this research, Kanban sizes for different assembly lines are also estimated to integrate and implement a “pull-system” into the lean framework. In addition, material movement and facility layout have been studied to minimize work-in-process travel time. An “iterative-MAIC” approach has been applied to implement lean principles.

Findings

As a result, a lean manufacturing pilot line has been implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of the lean principles before rolling them out across the manufacturing floor. It has been shown that the cycle times of the pilot line products are decreased by 40 per cent and the number of defects decreased by 10-30 per cent, depending on different assembly processes, after the lean implementation.

Originality/value

There is limited literature that addresses lean transformation in an HMLV electronics manufacturing service provider handling several product types with different testing methodologies, frequent product revision changes and higher fall-out rates. Hence, in this research, lean manufacturing has been implemented in an HMLV PCBA environment, which has the challenges of varying demand with a mix of assembly and test operations for different product families.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Wilfredo, Johnny, Wayne and Sue at Sanmina-SCI, Derry, New Hampshire, USA, for their valuable inputs and cooperation in conducting this research work and also for implementing the suggestions given.

Citation

Arasanipalai Raghavan, V., Yoon, S. and Srihari, K. (2014), "Lean transformation in a high mix low volume electronics assembly environment", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 342-360. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-07-2013-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited