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A bit of Toyota’s humanoid robot

Amazing the equilibrium, acceleration and deceleration.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Toyota

 

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Audi gets a good stake from the German Government for the ePerformance electric automobil

Along with partners in industry and research institutes, German car maker Audi will develop a system concept for an electrical car. The German government funds the research with €22 million (about $31 million). The government plans to establish Germany as a lead market for electro-mobility. Electric cars are seen as a factor to reduce carbon dioxide emission and implement Germany’s climate protection goals, explained German federal research minister Annette Schavan. The government hopes that by 2020 at least one million electric cars will populate the country’s roads.

Is it the intention of the federal government, Germany will soon be in the field of electron mobility in the world’s top count. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports this development with a total of 700 million euros. In this framework will also include the Audi launched the joint project “ePerfomance” by the government with a total of 22 million euros. As a contractor for the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH in the project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, which is an innovative collaborative approach to safety in the car of the future.

Until the year 2020 will be in Germany for at least one million electric cars on the streets of the market. From niche products for technology enthusiasts, and especially towards the environment-conscious attractive car with excellent driving characteristics. This image change was driven by electric sports car achieved. When new features of an intelligent vehicle being added, the electric car, so the conviction of the government, for many people even more interesting.

The aim of the research project “ePerformance” It is the electric drivetrain to completely re-designed and all electrical components in a vehicle to systematically optimize and increase its effectiveness. The ambitious project is here aware of the technological limits, and thus in high performance classes. The result is a sporty Audi typical, completely newly developed automobile.

In an electric vehicle have many different components work together and perfectly regulated and coordinated The Fraunhofer IESE supports the development of the whole concept of security of the vehicle, the danger and risk to the security architecture. Peter Liggesmeyer, E Referenzpflöcke for future vehicle generations must be set. Responsible for this is Dr. Mario Trapp he manages as the overall manager and head of department at Fraunhofer IESE the project. Liggesmeyer continued: “Both what the specific security concepts, as well as the methodology is concerned, we can the future of the automobile actively.” The share of the Fraunhofer IESE is 425,000 euros, spread over three years, valued.

The Federal Government pursues the electron mobility in a holistic strategy. With the “National Development electron mobility”, the first time all measures – from training and capacity building at universities on the battery development, network integration and energy management to prepare the market – with one another and coordinated implementation. Besides Audi also participate in the Robert Bosch GmbH and RWTH Aachen University in the “ePerformance” project.

Alexander Rabe Alexander Rabe
Telefon +49 (631) 6800 1002 Phone +49 (631) 6800 1002

Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer-Platz 1 Fraunhofer-Platz 1
67663 Kaiserslautern 67663 Kaiserslautern

Fraunhofer IESE is one of the world’s leading research institutions in the field of software and systems development The products of our partners are largely determined by software. The range of automotive and transportation systems on information systems and medical devices to software systems for the public sector. Our solutions are flexible scalable. This means that we are a competent technology partner for companies of all sizes – from small businesses to large corporations.

Under the leadership of Prof. Dieter Rombach and Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer we carry more than a decade significantly to the strengthening of the emerging IT location in Kaiserslautern. In the Fraunhofer Alliance for Information and communication technology, including the Fraunhofer ITWM belong, we are involved together with other Fraunhofer Institutes for pioneering key technologies of tomorrow.

Fraunhofer IESE is one of 57 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Together we shape the applied research in Europe and contribute to international competitiveness in Germany. The Institute is repeated after 2008 as part of the Fraunhofer-Center Kaiserslautern officially “Selected Landmark 2009” in competition “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas“.

Is it the intention of the federal government, Germany will soon be in the field of electron mobility in the world’s top count. Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) unterstützt diese Entwicklung mit insgesamt 700 Millionen Euro. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports this development with a total of 700 million euros. In diesem Rahmen wird auch das von Audi initiierte Verbundprojekt „ePerfomance“ von der Regierung mit insgesamt 22 Millionen Euro gefördert. In this framework will also include the Audi launched the joint project “ePerfomance” by the government with a total of 22 million euros. Als Auftragnehmer der Audi Electronics Venture GmbH in das Projekt eingebunden ist das Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, das im Verbund ein innovatives Sicherheitskonzept im Auto der Zukunft mitentwickelt. As a contractor for the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH in the project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, which is an innovative collaborative approach to safety in the car of the future co.

Bis zum Jahre 2020 sollen in Deutschland mindestens eine Million Elektrofahrzeuge auf die Straßen gebracht werden. Until the year 2020 will be in Germany for at least one million electric cars on the streets of the market. Schon jetzt findet in diesem Bereich ein rasanter Imagewandel in der Gesellschaft statt: Vom Nischenprodukt für Technikbegeisterte und besonders Umweltbewusste hin zum attraktiven Auto mit herausragenden Fahreigenschaften. Already found in this area of rapid change in the image of society: From niche products for technology enthusiasts, and especially towards the environment-conscious attractive car with excellent driving characteristics. Dieser Imagewandel wurde vor allem durch Elektro-Sportwagen erreicht. This image change was driven by electric sports car achieved. Wenn nun neue Funktionen eines intelligenten Fahrzeugs hinzukommen, wird das Elektroauto, so die Überzeugung der Regierung, für viele Menschen noch interessanter. When new features of an intelligent vehicle being added, the electric car, so the conviction of the government, for many people even more interesting.

//

Eine Herausforderung auch für Audi. A challenge for Audi. Ziel des Forschungsprojektes „ePerformance“ ist es, den elektrischen Antriebsstrang völlig neu zu konzipieren und alle elektrischen Komponenten im Fahrzeug systematisch zu optimieren und die Effizienz zu erhöhen. The aim of the research project “ePerformance” It is the electric drivetrain to completely re-designed and all electrical components in a vehicle to systematically optimize and increase its effectiveness. Das ambitionierte Projekt geht hier bewusst an die technologischen Grenzen und damit in hohe Leistungsklassen. The ambitious project is here aware of the technological limits, and thus in high performance classes. Am Ende steht ein für Audi typisch sportliches, völlig neu entwickeltes Automobil. The result is a sporty Audi typical, completely newly developed automobile.

In einem Elektrofahrzeug müssen viele unterschiedliche Komponenten optimal zusammenwirken und perfekt geregelt und abgestimmt sein. In an electric vehicle have many different components work together and perfectly regulated and coordinated. Das Fraunhofer IESE unterstützt dabei die Entwicklung des gesamten Sicherheitskonzepts des Fahrzeugs, von der Gefährdungs- und Risikoanalyse bis hin zur Sicherheitsarchitektur. The Fraunhofer IESE supports the development of the whole concept of security of the vehicle, the danger and risk to the security architecture. Ziel sei es, so Prof. Dr.-Ing. The objective is to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer, Referenzpflöcke für künftige E-Fahrzeug-Generationen zu setzen. Peter Liggesmeyer, E Referenzpflöcke for future vehicle generations must be set. Verantwortlich hierfür ist Dr. Mario Trapp; er betreut als Gesamtverantwortlicher und Hauptabteilungsleiter am Fraunhofer IESE das Projekt. Responsible for this is Dr. Mario Trapp he manages as the overall manager and head of department at Fraunhofer IESE the project. Liggesmeyer weiter: „Sowohl was die konkreten Sicherheitskonzepte, als auch was die eingesetzte Methodik betrifft, können wir hier die Zukunft des Automobils aktiv mitgestalten.“ Der Anteil des Fraunhofer IESE wird mit 425.000 Euro, verteilt auf drei Jahre, beziffert. Liggesmeyer continued: “Both what the specific security concepts, as well as the methodology is concerned, we can the future of the automobile actively.” The share of the Fraunhofer IESE is 425,000 euros, spread over three years, valued.

Die Bundesregierung verfolgt in der Elektromobilität eine ganzheitliche Strategie. The Federal Government pursues the electron mobility in a holistic strategy. Mit dem „Nationalen Entwicklungsplan Elektromobilität“ werden erstmals alle Maßnahmen – von der Ausbildung und dem Kompetenzaufbau an Hochschulen über die Batterieentwicklung, die Netzintegration und das Energiemanagement bis hin zur Marktvorbereitung – untereinander abgestimmt und koordiniert umgesetzt. With the “National Development electron mobility”, the first time all measures – from training and capacity building at universities on the battery development, network integration and energy management to prepare the market – with one another and coordinated implementation. Neben Audi beteiligen sich auch die Robert Bosch GmbH und die RWTH Aachen an dem „ePerformance“-Projekt. Besides Audi also participate in the Robert Bosch GmbH and RWTH Aachen University in the “ePerformance” project.

Alexander Rabe Alexander Rabe
Telefon +49 (631) 6800 1002 Phone +49 (631) 6800 1002

Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Fraunhofer-Platz 1 Fraunhofer-Platz 1
67663 Kaiserslautern 67663 Kaiserslautern

Das Fraunhofer-Institut für Experimentelles Software Engineering IESE The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE
Das Fraunhofer IESE gehört zu den weltweit führenden Forschungseinrichtungen auf dem Gebiet der Software- und Systementwicklung. Fraunhofer IESE is one of the world’s leading research institutions in the field of software and systems development. Die Produkte unserer Kooperationspartner werden wesentlich durch Software bestimmt. The products of our partners are largely determined by software. Die Spanne reicht von Automobil- und Transportsystemen über Informationssysteme und medizintechnische Geräte bis hin zu Softwaresystemen für den öffentlichen Sektor. The range of automotive and transportation systems on information systems and medical devices to software systems for the public sector. Unsere Lösungen sind flexibel skalierbar. Our solutions are flexible scalable. Damit sind wir der kompetente Technologiepartner für Firmen jeder Größe – vom Kleinunternehmen bis zum Großkonzern. This means that we are a competent technology partner for companies of all sizes – from small businesses to large corporations.

Unter der Leitung von Prof. Dieter Rombach und Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer tragen wir seit über einem Jahrzehnt maßgeblich zur Stärkung des aufstrebenden IT-Standorts Kaiserslautern bei. Under the leadership of Prof. Dieter Rombach and Prof. Peter Liggesmeyer we carry more than a decade significantly to the strengthening of the emerging IT location in Kaiserslautern. Im Fraunhofer-Verbund für Informations- und Kommunikationstechnik, dem auch das Fraunhofer ITWM angehört, engagieren wir uns gemeinsam mit weiteren Fraunhofer-Instituten für richtungsweisende Schlüsseltechnologien von morgen. In the Fraunhofer Alliance for Information and communication technology, including the Fraunhofer ITWM belong, we are involved together with other Fraunhofer Institutes for pioneering key technologies of tomorrow.

Das Fraunhofer IESE ist eines von 57 Instituten der Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Fraunhofer IESE is one of 57 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Zusammen gestalten wir die angewandte Forschung in Europa wesentlich mit und tragen zur internationalen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit Deutschlands bei. Together we shape the applied research in Europe and contribute to international competitiveness in Germany. Das Institut ist nach 2008 wiederholt als Teil des Fraunhofer-Zentrums Kaiserslautern offiziell „Ausgewählter Ort 2009“ im Wettbewerb „365 Orte im Land der Ideen“. The Institute is repeated after 2008 as part of the Fraunhofer-Center Kaiserslautern officially “Selected Landmark 2009” in competition “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas”.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

This is a good ignition. The Scuderi Engine and the split-cycle

The Scuderi Engine cleared another major development hurdle last week after engineers successfully fired the engine for the first time, achieving the split-cycle engine’s revolutionary concept of firing after top dead center.

split-cycle scuderi engine

split-cycle scuderi engine

(To listen to a podcast about the Scuderi Engine running on gasoline, click here or visit www.ScuderiEngine.com).

Engineers at the independent laboratory building the engine will continue further testing and adjustments for the next several weeks in order to fine tune the engine so it can reach its maximum efficiency levels. Engine maps, test data and other performance measurements are being made available to the global automotive community under non-disclosure agreements.

The one-liter, naturally aspirated gasoline prototype potentially produces up to 80 percent fewer toxins than a typical internal combustion engine. When fully developed with its turbocharged and Air-Hybrid components, the engine is expected to achieve significant gains in fuel efficiency – the most since the inception of the Otto cycle over 130 years ago. The original Scuderi Engine was designed and invented by Carmelo Scuderi (1925-2002).

Scuderi split-cycle technology is significant because it gives automotive OEMs an immediate solution for complying with higher emissions and efficiency standards going into effect around the world – without having to make large investments to modify current production processes. The Scuderi Group expects further advancement of the technology once the greater engineering community begins working with the engine, making their own modifications that will most likely take the efficiency to even higher levels.

“This marks another great moment for the engine and our world-class team working on its development,” said Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group. “It’s great to be able to share this milestone with those who have been following our development and who have showed overwhelming interest since we first introduced this concept and design over three years ago. Now that we have reached this point, we strongly encourage automakers to take advantage of the opportunity that the Scuderi Engine presents to produce more fuel-efficient engines.”

The Scuderi Engine is a split-cycle design that divides the four strokes of a conventional combustion cycle over two paired cylinders: one intake/compression cylinder and one power/exhaust cylinder. By firing after top-dead center, it produces highly efficient, cleaner combustion with one cylinder and compressed air in the other. Unlike conventional engines that require two crankshaft revolutions to complete a single combustion cycle, the Scuderi Engine requires just one. Besides the improvements in efficiency and emissions, studies show that the Scuderi Engine is capable of producing more torque than conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

With the naturally aspirated engine up and running, the Scuderi Group and its independent laboratory continue to work on the next prototypes. Completion of the turbocharged Scuderi Engine and the Scuderi Air-Hybrid are expected in 2010.

About The Scuderi Group Based in West Springfield, Mass., USA, with offices in Frankfurt, Germany, the Scuderi Group is a research and development company focused on proliferating its technology through R&D and licensing. Its revolutionary Scuderi Engine technology, when fully developed, is expected to be the most significant improvement in engine efficiency in over 130 years. The Scuderi Group’s global patent portfolio contains more than 200 patents including 72 issued in more than 50 countries. For more information call 1-413-439-0343 or visit www.ScuderiEngine.com.

View a previous post about the Scuderi engine

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2009 in Mechatronic Applications

 

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Maasaki Imai reviews Kaizen and Just in Time 23 years later. It is time to meet the challenge for surviving

The 73-year-old mind of Masaaki Imai runs razor sharp belying the frailty of his small frame. He talks with sincere conviction, pausing to select the right words.

He has to be careful, after all, his words have been changing the way the corporate world talks, and more important, acts.

When he first threw the word ‘Kaizen’ at the corporate world through his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s [ Images ] Competitive Success in 1986, it was swallowed hungrily by a world in the throes of transition. Translated in fourteen languages, Kaizen became a fad the world over.

Toyota [ Images ], the outstandingly successful Japanese carmaker, became one of his most committed followers.

However, Imai, the founder of a leading international management and executive recruiting firm, and consultant to over two hundred companies, realized that the concept had neither been digested nor well implemented.

He introduced an evolved form of Kaizen in 1997 in his book Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management, to reassert the importance of the shop floor in bringing about continual improvement in an organization.

Today, the father of ‘Kaizen’ and ‘Gemba Kaizen’ is convinced that to survive in an increasingly competitive world, top management must adopt a just-in-time approach and drive change down the hierarchy without yielding to resistance.

Forget forecasting, concentrate instead on crashing the time taken to execute orders. According to Imai, 90 per cent of all corporate problems can be solved using common sense and improving quality while reducing cost through the elimination of waste is the only option for survival.

In an exclusive interview to The Smart Manager, Imai explained the principles underlying his just-in-time philosophy:

Kaizen is about constant continual improvement but in today’s world, are small improvements enough? What if you need to make big, radical changes?

Kaizen is the means to achieve a corporate strategy, not the strategy. Every corporation needs to make a radical change, or some change at least, to survive in this very competitive, rapidly changing world.

The most important challenge facing top management today, especially in a manufacturing company, is to establish a target about where they want to take the company in the next two, five and ten years.

In manufacturing, there are only two systems. One is the batch or queue production system, and the other is what we call just-in-time (JIT) or the Toyota production system.

One of the most urgent tasks for top management is to choose the strategy, and say that we have decided to change to the just-in-time production system to be able to survive in the new millennium.

Kaizen is misunderstood by most people. They say Kaizen is small step improvement and this is the age of big jumps, but in my way of thinking, the biggest jump is making the transformation from the batch mode to JIT.

Why should companies move away from the batch mode to just-in-time?

The batch production system, to which almost 99.9 per cent  of all manufacturing companies subscribe, is destined to perish. It is the most inefficient way to make products.

It is prone to all kind of shortcomings: it is almost impossible to build quality in a product and it defeats the purpose of making products at low cost.

It also makes it very difficult to meet customer requirements, which come in different orders, like different volumes in different time frames and so on. On the other hand, JIT production system is the opposite of the batch system.

The batch system derives from the agricultural mentality. When the industrial revolution took place in the nineteenth century, managers adopted the pattern of production from agriculture: first you sow seeds, then harvest and store. The more wheat you had, the more secure you were, so everything was made in big batches.

Similarly, in the batch system, you purchase material and produce in big batches and there are many processes. At every process, you accumulate the batch and at the end you accumulate the finished product in a batch, which is stored in the warehouse.

Which is very efficient, offers standardization. . .

This kind of production system is based on market forecast. You say, this year we will sell half a million cars, so you plan according to that and start making half a million cars. What happens if your forecast is wrong and you manage to sell only quarter million cars?

You are left with quarter million cars unsold and a chunk of cost — labour, raw material, etc — is in it. What are you going to do? You think it is the most efficient production system?

Batch system is good when there is demand. As a company begins to acquire the capacity to produce faster and faster and more and more, eventually there will come a time when its production capacity goes above what the market can bear.

Today, several Japanese electronic companies are in big difficulty. What do you think happened to these companies?

These are the companies that didn’t know that they should have introduced JIT. Most of the electronic companies have a production system based on assumption of the market and market forecast.

The same thing happens in the computer chip industry. You end up with huge inventory of unsold products and excess capacity, then you borrow money to carry that inventory. By that time you have acquired too many people for every process.

Do you think that is a very efficient way of making a product? Eventually the company will have to restructure or go bankrupt.

And what is the solution? Just-in-time. The starting point of JIT is to pull from the market. The market should always come first and production later.

How long would the customer have to wait for the product?

In some cases, only a few hours. In the case of a car, maybe a few days.

But it is a competitive market, why would a customer wait? There are lots of car manufacturers, there is lots of choice, I can walk into any showroom and buy a car. Why should I wait?

In batch system, the company has to anticipate that the customer will request this kind of a model. Right? And it will have to build an inventory of this kind of car, but they don’t know how many orders are coming. They have to have so many cars waiting for your order to arrive, which is very inefficient.

The customer may not know that she wants a product. The inventor has to estimate the market for it. It is the role of marketing to define the product and the role of production to make the product.

Well, I think it is the other way round. The role of marketing is to dig out the potential or hidden requirement that the market has.

You don’t follow the product out approach but first find the need of the market and then make the product. If you don’t have technology, you have to develop it and if you don’t have the machinery for such a product, you have to design it.

Managers today are obsessed by a ‘growth’ mentality? Do you think growth is a smart strategy?

I can say that 99.9 per cent of all companies in the world today are obsessed by a growth mentality. These are companies that can make profits only when the market is growing.

In real life, market demand always fluctuates. The only companies that will survive in to the next millennium will be the ones that have the flexibility to produce according to fluctuating demand.

I read that Kaizen works most effectively in the time of crisis. Why?

During a crisis, everyone understands the urgency of the situation. The transformation of the production system is a massive physical operation, like operating on the bone structure itself, which is why it is very important that top management be committed to make such a transformation.

That is the only way to survive in the new millennium because it is the most effective way of making a product. It also increases your cash flow immediately, so when companies are faced with crisis, it is the best time to introduce Kaizen.

For instance, in India, there are many situations emerging, like China exporting products far below the cost price.

In this age of global supply chain management, being the best in India is not enough, you have to be the best in the world.

Do you have a Kaizen institute in China? What makes China so efficient?

No, we don’t have an institute in China. What makes China superior is its labour cost, which is 1/50th of Japan’s labour cost.

But lower labor cost does not equal efficiency. What makes China so efficient?

I wouldn’t call the country very efficient. They can produce a certain product, particularly consumer-related products, at a lower cost in mass production because so far many western and Japanese companies have transferred technical know-how to them.

China has acquired the basic production capacity. Earlier the same thing happened with Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan. Today it is China’s turn.

What happened was that Japanese, American and European people have transplanted technology, they hired local people and brought machines there and trained them to do the job. So that’s how they can produce.

So, would you call China a superior manufacturer?

Not superior, but they can produce at a far more competitive price. Superior has many connotations, in terms of design, efficiency, etc. I certainly wouldn’t call China superior.

They also have efficient processes. . .

But so far, those processes have been given to them from Japan and the western world.

The price of labour is cheaper in China, but would the productivity of a Japanese worker be higher than that of a Chinese worker?

I am talking about labour cost. Of course, you have to make quality products and in order to make quality products, you must have quality conscious employees. How do you develop quality conscious employees?

Most Japanese companies when they went to China had a hard time training them, the people didn’t have quality consciousness.

The Japanese spent a lot of time selecting the right people and training them in production procedures. So this kind of training has been provided along with some basic principles of quality assurance.

These managerial practices can be transferred, but you see in China, they are paying the equivalent of one Japanese worker’s wages to fifty people. Quality control has been introduced and can be exported in any country.

Japan was at its peak in the 1980s but now China is far ahead, does this suggest that the Japanese model is invalid?

We need to distinguish between external circumstances (social, cultural and political infrastructure) and internal circumstances (like how business is conducted within the company).

The recent negative reports about Japan relate to the external circumstances, such as governmental regulations, overprotected market in some sectors, aging society and the Big Bang needed by the monetary institutions.

There is a realisation that Japan Inc may not be functioning as efficiently as it used to. This in no way means that Japanese management practices (internal management of the company) have proven to be inferior.

The Japanese companies developed a very effective system of management, particularly in the manufacturing sectors, and the rest of the world has much to learn from these practices.

What are your views about management practices in the Indian corporate sector?

I see that Indian managers are extremely intelligent. They are abreast with latest technologies and developments. But the problem is that they completely isolate themselves from reality.

They are under the impression that real knowledge can be gained only by reading books and attending lectures. How often do they actually roll up their sleeves and get into some action?

They really need to make more effort [at getting into the thick of action]. They have immense knowledge, but what they lack is wisdom that comes by doing things yourself.

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Let’s talk about Kanban, the second pillar of TPS after JIT

The core of lean manufacturing, kanbans use the “pull” system to prevent waste by creating a cyclical relationship between the consumer, supplier, and manufacturer. The user of a material requests or “pulls” material from the supplier, as they need it. They do this using some form of notification.  Product consumption information is sent from the user upstream to the supplier so that consumed materials can be restocked as needed. Ultimately, this eliminates overproduction and waste from the previous unnecessary use of materials and machinery.

Roughly translated as “sign” or “visual card,” a kanban can be any device that communicates the need for an item. Kanbans ensure that only what is needed is ordered and in the proper amount.

The first kanbans, signboards, were used to transfer inventory information between production processes. Taiichi Ohno, former vice president of Toyota Motors, designed the concept in the mid 1950s after observing the operating system of an American supermarket. He was taken with the concept of only supplying what was needed, when it was needed, and how greatly this prevented unnecessary production and waste.

Considered one of the most price accessible means for inventory control, kanbans exist in manual and electronic forms (anything from a plastic container to a software program). It reduces unnecessary inventory, eliminate shortages, and cuts costs. Bringing improvements in price and quality, kanbans exists in three types: supplier, in-factory, and production.

  • Supplier kanban: Alerts parts suppliers as to what specific production parts are needed and how many.
  • In-factory parts-retrieval kanban: is used between factory processes to manage inventory.
  • Production kanban: Indicates operating instructions for factory lines.

Successful implementation requires that four rules be followed:

  • The production process works against the grain, starting with the consumer order and working it’s way back to manufacturing to eliminate any excess materials.
  • Manufacturers must only produce what has been ordered in the exact order and quantity it received in the request.
  • Products must remain 100-percent defect-free to continue down the production line.
  • Kanbans should be gradually decreased over time to uncover and correct production areas needing improvement.

Check more in QualiPedia

Electronic Kanban Helps TRANE Stay Lean

More than 80 percent of the firm’s purchasing is done online using an electronic kanban system.

TRANE Residential Systems, is a lean organization that knows about growth through innovation. In 1931, TRANE came up with the radical idea of using technology to provide relief from the summer heat. The 1938 launch of the Turbovac, the industry’s first hermetic, centrifugal refrigeration machine, fundamentally changed the concept of air conditioning in large buildings. This was the beginning of a long chain of innovations that eventually led to TRANE’s current CenTraVac, the industry standard for large commercial air conditioning systems. This energy-efficient system with its superior performance in minimizing refrigerant emissions, has earned TRANE the “Best of the Best Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The lean metrics are impressive.

As part of a Six Sigma project, TRANE Residential identified Ultriva, a lean manufacturing software solution, as part of its control plan. TRANE has been using the software for more than a year, and the work-in-process (WIP) and the raw and in-process (RIP) inventory are down more than $4 million. More important, that improvement has been sustained. More than 80 percent of the firm’s purchasing is done online in real time with suppliers using Ultriva’s electronic kanban pull system.

“The company now has total visibility of what’s where—something I’ve never been able to do with any MRP [material requirement planning] system, and I’ve worked in many,” says John Young, materials and supply chain leader of TRANE Residential Systems in Vidalia, Georgia. “All parts that go from our warehouse are kanban pull with manufacturing lines, and our entire fabricating department, where we make lots of stampings, is run off of this system—giving us tools such as capacity management as well as kanban pull.”

TRANE’s lean initiative

The lean initiative at this particular plant has been in process for about two years, says Young. “However we’ve had deep roots for more than ten years in demand flow technology and going so far as to have true mixed model flow production assembly lines during that time,” he notes. “Our entire plant-level team is, by function, a lean leader, including the plant manager. From a corporate level within our division [TRANE Residential Systems]—it’s mimicked similarly in that all functions are expected to be the lean leaders of our initiative. From a higher level of Ingersoll-Rand, even our CEO participates in two kaizen events a year at different plants, so it’s becoming part of our culture for sure.”

In the past, TRANE used differing types of kanban systems with sporadic success across TRANE Residential locations. There was no standardization and in most cases the kanban systems would not run correctly. Cards were lost, there was no known way to resize efficiently, and there was no visibility of kanban being in process with suppliers. Ultriva became a solution because of the organization’s desire to implement kanban.

“I wanted some technology enablers to allow us management tools as well,”  explains Young. “We came across Ultriva as a solution due to a Six Sigma project team I was helping lead on material planning improvements.”

Conditions needed improvement

TRANE was facing a variety of problems: there were too many stock outs, too much material, no parts visibility with suppliers, and no parts-in-transit visibility. There was also no ability to measure on-time delivery or have real-time receipts with suppliers.

“[TRANE Residential] needed poka-yoke on receiving processes and material control needs,” recalls Young. “We needed access to the data to address increases and decreases in demand for kanban systems, and there had to be a supplier portal to have visibility into our shop floor. All this was needed along with the ability to run MRP orders the same as kanban, but just as one-time orders.”

Several electronic kanban software programs were considered, including a home-written one that was being used for internal fabricated parts in the Tyler facility. “In the FMEA [failure mode effects analysis] of our Six Sigma project on material planning improvements, Ultriva was able to move almost all of our highest ranking issues to non-issues through poka-yoke or minimal issues through its superior methodology,” says Young.

In April 2008, TRANE Residential streamlined its purchasing system as well as its internal management of the fabrication department, which made capacity management more visual. The company officially moved to consumption-based replenishment purchasing using real-time bar-coded receipts with poka-yoke (to prevent double ordering or double receiving). The company now has total closed-loop procurement internally and externally through kanban systems, producing a much cleaner value-stream mapping process.

Specific benefits of consumption-based replenishment:

  • $4.7 million in material savings through the successful implementation of the control plan for the companies Six Sigma project
  • $243,000 savings in 90 days (pilot period)
  • Increased turns from low single digits to 25+ and is on track to hit 33 by the year’s end (measured as COGS)
  • Stock-outs with no visibility as to why its gone
  • When there is a stock-out, the company sees it coming and is certain as to the root cause after only minutes of data analysis.
  • On-time-delivery metrics for suppliers are now available, none previously existed.
  • Transit lead time metrics (impossible in other systems)

“We have a Fab Supermarket, too, that we manage through our electronic kanban system,” notes Young. “These parts have been reduced more than 50 percent in the past year. We have a true way to measure supplier on-time delivery. We never really could before. And this can be for any kanban loop. So even internally we can measure and adjust. Based on our running a successful pilot here in Vidalia more than a year ago, we chose this to be a solution at all Trane RS [Residential Systems] plants, and the other three sites are in process of implementing now.”

Lean technology providing a competitive advantage

The electronic kanban system is utilized within the entire supply chain across the TRANE Residential division, and implemented in more than 85 percent of Vidalia’s spending. All sites within TRANE Residential are expected to be on the system within the next year and a half.

“This [system] provides a competitive advantage in that we are able to see down to very granular levels of details, what’s happening in our supply chain,” Young explains. “This analysis tool allows a manager to truly zero in on root cause and remove emotions from analysis, and drive data-driven decision making. Being able to have full visibility into our supply chain allows us to react to unforeseen circumstances better, react to demand shifts, minimize impact to our financial stakeholders, as well as give realistic expectations to internal and external customers.”

Ultimately, this lean technology solution has become a major pillar of TRANE’s rapid improvements, both in the supply chain and in internal processes. “The technology is an absolute enabler and makes improvement sustainable; and it allows us to more rapidly identify and execute on improvements, which of course is the key to lean: continuous improvement,” says Youn

From Thomas R. Cutler in Quality Digest

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in Lean Manufacturing, Toyota

 

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Because lots of you are looking for a new engine to power your expectations. The Scuderi Engine

The Scuderi Engine cleared another major development hurdle last week after engineers successfully fired the engine for the first time, achieving the split-cycle engine’s revolutionary concept of firing after top dead center.

(To listen to a podcast about the Scuderi Engine running on gasoline, visit www.ScuderiEngine.com)

Engineers at the independent laboratory building the engine will continue further testing and adjustments for the next several weeks in order to fine tune the engine so it can reach its maximum efficiency levels. Engine maps, test data and other performance measurements are being made available to the global automotive community under non-disclosure agreements.

The one-liter, naturally aspirated gasoline prototype potentially produces up to 80 percent fewer toxins than a typical internal combustion engine. When fully developed with its turbocharged and Air-Hybrid components, the engine is expected to achieve significant gains in fuel efficiency — the most since the inception of the Otto cycle over 130 years ago. The original Scuderi Engine was designed and invented by Carmelo Scuderi (1925-2002).

Scuderi split-cycle technology is significant because it gives automotive OEMs an immediate solution for complying with higher emissions and efficiency standards going into effect around the world — without having to make large investments to modify current production processes. The Scuderi Group expects further advancement of the technology once the greater engineering community begins working with the engine, making their own modifications that will most likely take the efficiency to even higher levels.

“This marks another great moment for the engine and our world-class team working on its development,” said Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group. “It’s great to be able to share this milestone with those who have been following our development and who have showed overwhelming interest since we first introduced this concept and design over three years ago. Now that we have reached this point, we strongly encourage automakers to take advantage of the opportunity that the Scuderi Engine presents to produce more fuel-efficient engines.”

The Scuderi Engine is a split-cycle design that divides the four strokes of a conventional combustion cycle over two paired cylinders: one intake/compression cylinder and one power/exhaust cylinder. By firing after top-dead center, it produces highly efficient, cleaner combustion with one cylinder and compressed air in the other. Unlike conventional engines that require two crankshaft revolutions to complete a single combustion cycle, the Scuderi Engine requires just one. Besides the improvements in efficiency and emissions, studies show that the Scuderi Engine is capable of producing more torque than conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

With the naturally aspirated engine up and running, the Scuderi Group and its independent laboratory continue to work on the next prototypes. Completion of the turbocharged Scuderi Engine and the Scuderi Air-Hybrid are expected in 2010.

About The Scuderi Group

Based in West Springfield, Mass., USA, with offices in Frankfurt, Germany, the Scuderi Group is a research and development company focused on proliferating its technology through R&D and licensing. Its revolutionary Scuderi Engine technology, when fully developed, is expected to be the most significant improvement in engine efficiency in over 130 years. The Scuderi Group’s global patent portfolio contains more than 200 patents including 72 issued in more than 50 countries. For more information call 1-413-439-0343 or visit www.ScuderiEngine.com.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in Mechatronic Applications

 

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Strategic Vision Inc. recognizes the efforts coming from Detroit

(Strategic Vision: San Diego) — Volkswagen of America and Ford Motor Corp. were recently announced as full-line corporate leaders in Strategic Vision Inc.’s (SVI) Total Quality Index (TQI). Across their various brands, both corporations are consistently producing vehicles judged high in perceived quality and emotional delight, resulting in models that customers can love. Volkswagen of America also had the greatest number of TQI leaders across the segments being measured than any other brand: Rabbit, Jetta, CC, New Beetle, Tiguan, and Audi A4. Ford has Focus as the leader in the popular Small Car segment.

The TQI asks buyers to rate all aspects of the ownership experience from buying and owning to performance and driving—much more than simply counting problems. Results from studies that measure the number of problems or the overall satisfaction of a vehicle do not measure the customers’ commitment to, advocacy for, or loyalty to their vehicles accurately. “In today’s difficult market, the difference between products that generate consideration, build brands, and increase sales versus those that do not is often how much delight and love the product generates with its customers,” says Darrel Edwards, Ph.D., chairman of Strategic Vision.

In a recently published survey conducted by another research company that only counted problems, MINI was rated the worst quality brand. However,  in Strategic Vision’s most recent research study, which examines the entire ownership experience and MINI owners’ perceptions of quality, from styling to performance, including what went wrong and what created delight, MINI is the highest rated brand in total quality in its price category. Therefore, it is not a surprise that MINI was one of the two brands to increase sales during last year’s start of the U.S. and automotive recession. “When you have a product worthy of love, customers will come,” says Alexander Edwards, president of SVI.

The past 12 months have been rough for domestic manufacturers as constant negative news is delivered, bankruptcies are filed, and the mantra, “Why won’t Detroit build quality vehicles that people want to buy?” is stated again and again. However, it is important to note that four of the top ten-selling vehicles in the first quarter of this year were domestics. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler have all scored well with customers in total quality and in sales.

General Motors had four segment leaders: Pontiac G8, GMC Envoy, Yukon XL and the Chevrolet Corvette (which was the highest rated TQI of any vehicles this year). Customers report that these vehicles deliver what they want from each segment. These leaders have delightful interiors, performance, and styling, providing customers an added sense of security, confidence, fun and excitement. It’s also important to note that Saturn and Pontiac brands performed well in TQI across most of their models, with both brands tied for having the highest TQI scores in their price segment.

The Chrysler Group has increased in total quality from last year with the Dodge Ram leading the way with the highest Total Quality score of any truck in the history of the 15-year study. This is also the first time the Ram has achieved this honor since 1999 when it lost its title for the first time to competition. Customers specifically noted that the Ram has the best added storage capability along with the best truck interior ever rated by customers. “For truck buyers, the Dodge Ram has reclaimed its perceived leadership in innovation, a corporate hallmark,” says Edwards. “We have tracked innovation as a critical dimension in success since 1979 and have shown that it has been the single most powerful factor in success across categories, especially among automobiles.”

American Honda Motors, Nissan Motor Corp., and Toyota Motor Sales each led in two segments with strong positions in many others. The Nissan Maxima tied with the G8 in the large car segment while the Infiniti FX and EX, both competing in the near-luxury utility segment tied with each other. The FX and EX both delivered strong performance and exterior styling that led to a greater perception of quality leading to an enhanced sense of prestige and individuality for their owners.

For American Honda Motors, the Honda Ridgeline and Odyssey lead their segments with delightful capability and overall flexibility in each of the models. Both models show innovation that produces leadership. Odyssey became a leader among minivans when it offered the most innovative product in its segment years ago. Ridgeline burst onto the scene as Truck of the Year with innovation unmatched by competition in its segment. Although Ridgeline’s price has kept sales below that of competitors, those who buy it often report that they are delighted with almost every aspect. The innovation and delight delivered by each of these leaders cause owners to state that their next vehicle will be a Honda.

Toyota Motor Sales led with the all-new Toyota Venza and Toyota 4Runner. Both vehicles, as do most Toyota and Lexus products, delivered high levels of trust associated with the Toyota brand name and the brand’s attention to interior details. Customers reported that both of these vehicles showed increased thoughtfulness in their design. Few things-gone-wrong combined with higher expected durability and reliability provided a foundation for Toyota’s leadership position in these segments. With the added thoughtfulness and utility of the products, Toyota’s customers were truly delighted.

Having few problems (solid initial quality) can provide foundational assurance to customers, increasing brand trust and expected durability and reliability. As seen in similar studies, SVI found that the number of problems per vehicle found in the Lexus brand is statistically the lowest of all brands. Lexus’ goal should be to focus on enhanced products and communications to show customers that they are focused on delivering more than basic satisfaction as they build on their foundation.

Finally, in the Luxury categories the BMW X3 tied with the Infiniti FX and EX on Total Quality. The Mercedes S-Class has again defined luxury in its class, leading for the fourth time in the past six years. The Land Rover Range Rover is the leader in the Luxury utility segment. Many other Land Rover/Jaguar models also scored very well with models like the Range Rover Sport, Jaguar XF, and Jaguar XJ scoring just below top positions in their segments.

Buyers rated the following vehicles tops in their segments:

Segment Winner(s) TQI Score
Small Car Ford Focus Sedan 877
Small Multi-Function Volkswagen Rabbit 889
Mid-Size Car Volkswagen Jetta Sedan 891
Large Car Nissan Maxima
Pontiac G8
900
899
Near-Luxury Car Volkswagen CC Sedan
Audi A4 Sedan
923
922
Luxury Car Mercedes-Benz S-Class 934
Specialty Coupe Volkswagen New Beetle 924
Premium Coupe Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 938
Minivan Honda Odyssey 865
Entry Utility Volkswagen Tiguan 914
Mid-Size Crossover Utility Toyota Venza 925
Mid-Size Traditional Utility GMC Envoy
Toyota 4Runner
859
858
Large Utility GMC Yukon XL 899
Near-Luxury Utility Infiniti FX
Infiniti EX35
BMW X3
906
904
904
Luxury Utility Land Rover Range Rover 920
Standard Pickup Honda Ridgeline 874
Full-Size Pickup Dodge Ram 1500 899

The TQI was calculated from 20,101 buyers who bought 2008 and 2009 models in September to December of 2008.

For more information please visit www.strategicvision.com.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in Total Quality Management, Toyota

 

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GM leaves Nummi, the hot potato is in Toyota’s hands

DETROIT — General Motors said Monday that it was pulling out of its joint venture with Toyota, a longstanding partnership between two of the auto industry’s biggest rivals that exposed G.M. to more efficient Japanese manufacturing techniques and produced Toyota’s first American-made vehicles.

Roger B. Smith, right, former G.M. chairman, with Eiji Toyoda, the former chairman of Toyota, at the Nummi plant in 1985.

The joint venture, known as New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or Nummi, has built more than six million vehicles at a plant in Fremont, Calif., since 1984. The plant builds two Toyota models, the Corolla sedan and Tacoma pickup truck, and a small crossover vehicle for G.M., the Pontiac Vibe.

G.M. is eliminating the Pontiac brand next year and plans to discontinue the Vibe in August. It said Monday that it was unable to reach an agreement with Toyota “on a future product plant that made sense for all parties” and that its stake in the Nummi plant would not be part of the company after emerging from bankruptcy later this summer.

“It’s the end of a remarkable educational experiment,” said James P. Womack, the chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute, an organization in Cambridge, Mass., that promotes efficiency in manufacturing and commerce.

“The product was never the point at this plant,” Mr. Womack said. “It was a way for Toyota to figure out how to apply its system in the United States and for G.M. to try to figure out how Toyota was doing the things it was doing.”

G.M.’s withdrawal from the venture, which is half owned by each of the companies, creates an uncertain future for the Fremont plant, which has more than 4,700 employees in five million square feet of assembly space. It is the last auto plant operating in California and Toyota’s only plant represented by the United Automobile Workers.

Toyota said in a statement that it was sorry G.M. was pulling out and that it had not decided what to do with the plant.

“We will consider alternatives by taking into account various factors, including the current distressed market conditions, our overall North American manufacturing capacity, and the viability of the facility as a stand-alone operation without G.M. production,” the statement said.

Nummi has been running well below capacity for some time. Now, analysts say the deep industry downturn, coupled with G.M.’s decision to cut its ties, gives Toyota an opportunity to shut the plant. However, Toyota executives are sensitive to the American political climate, and the company could choose to keep the plant open in some fashion rather than risk the heat of shutting it down and eliminating jobs held by U.A.W. members.

Toyota recently denied reports that it might build its hybrid sedan, the Prius, at Nummi.

Both of the vehicles that Toyota builds in Fremont are also assembled elsewhere: the Corolla in Canada and the Tacoma in Mexico. (By producing the small Tacoma in California, Toyota avoids a tariff that the United States imposes on imported compact pickup trucks.)

When Nummi was formed, Toyota was a comparatively small but rapidly growing player in the United States while G.M. had a firm grip on its title as the world’s largest automaker. Toyota unseated G.M. at the industry’s pinnacle last year, aided by what it learned from Nummi.

G.M., meanwhile, was a slow learner and only recently began successfully applying the techniques it gained from working with Toyota, Mr. Womack said. Now, Nummi has outlived its usefulness for G.M. and is far away from all of the company’s other manufacturing locations.

“They learned a great deal in theory but nothing in practice for about 15 years,” he said. “G.M. has learned what they could and they don’t need that capacity anymore.”

By NICK BUNKLEY
Micheline Maynard contributed reporting.

Read the full story at New York Times

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2009 in Lean Manufacturing, Toyota

 

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Highly automated plant in Spain

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

The QualliPedia definition of DMAIC

Define, measure, analyze, improve, control (DMAIC), developed by W. Edwards Deming in the 1950s, is a statistical and analytical method used to reduce defects by finding the root causes of defects, eliminating them, and sustaining that improvement level.

The roots of DMAIC are from the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle, a method for learning and improvement, also referred to as the “Shewhart Cycle,” developed by Walter Shewhart, the statistician who developed statistical process control (SPC) while employed at Bell Laboratories during the 1930s.

Deming successfully applied the concept of PDCA to the management system processes of industrialized organizations during the 1950s and PDCA became known as the “Deming Wheel.” Deming developed DMAIC to guide quality projects of existing business processes in a continuous effort to reduce defects.

Read more about DMAIC in QulityDigest

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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