Creating an ideal manufacturing environment

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Striving for an ideal manufacturing environment results in products with highest efficiency, but lowest impact on the environment. A considerate and carefully thought out environmental approach to all stages of product development, which includes recycling, reduced energy consumption, alternative packaging solutions, etc, are factors that can result in an ideal manufacturing environment. “Right policies, good infrastructure, availability of an uninterrupted energy supply and quality power, apart from an environment friendly manufacturing location, all add up to an ideal manufacturing environment,” explains Subhash Goyal, managing director, Digital Circuits Pvt Ltd.

By Richa Chakravarty

Ideal manufacturing facility

Monday, May 16, 2011: Manufacturing units with the most up-to-date logistical and technical facilities not only provide a pleasant working environment but also the prerequisites for economical production. This ideal environment comprises aspects such as proper space, pollution free atmosphere, healthy workers, mechanisms to control accidents, etc. An unsafe and polluted environment can lead to product degradation, which will lead to losses to the company. There should also be a procedure to regularly review appropriate measures to prevent pollution incidents.

Choosing the right kind of machines, chemicals, raw materials as well as the production strategy, all contribute to making the manufacturing environment an ideal one. An ideal production strategy should, in fact, start from the stage of designing a product. For example, the PCB design should be suitable for the SMT machine and auto insert machine. If, for instance, the design does not allow components to be placed by the machine on the edge of the PCB, a lot of time will be lost in manually placing the components. So if the correct procedures are implemented at the design stage itself, it will greatly increase productivity. Also, wrong design can result in poor quality products. “Therefore, well laid out processes, clear work instructions to operators, adequate training to employees, and integrated enterprise resource planning systems are important for smooth functioning of a plant,” opines Col Sharath Bhat, senior vice president, business development, Kaynes Technology India Pvt Ltd.

Machines used for the manufacturing process should meet the product or sub-assembly specifications and ensure excellent yields in production processes. This will not only enhance the quality of the product but also reduce time loss. Also, there is a need to study the exact time of each operation, identify the bottlenecks during the operations and reduce it to balance the operation. “All low first pass yield processes need to be critically evaluated, and new equipment and technology should be adopted wherever necessary. We must study the problems leading to long lead times and adopt methods to increase the capacity of the vendors or put alternate vendors in place,” explains Subhash Goyal.

Complying with standards

Besides the right production processes, there are certain standards that companies need to comply with. ISO 9000 is the basic certification required. However, companies like Kaynes Technology are certified with IRIS (railways), AS9100 (aerospace/defence), TS 16949 (automotive) and IS0 13485 (medical) to meet the requirements of different industry verticals. Also, critical processes need to be validated to ensure consistency and compliance to specifications.

“All processes are defined by work standards. The purchasing process is controlled by various approvals. Components to be procured are defined by the bill of material (BOM). The BOM parts are approved by sample testing both by the manufacturer and the customer. Some components like injection moulded parts are defined by reference samples. An approved vendor list, duly approved after quality checks (QC) and by the R&D divisions and the management, is provided to the purchase department to ensure the consistent quality of parts. The effectiveness of the engineering changes proposed by the R&D department is confirmed by inhouse testing, and QC approval is submitted to the customer. After the customer’s approval, the changes are updated in the BOM and the purchase department procures the parts,” explains Subhash Goyal.

Safety measures

There are a few measures that companies adopt to ensure safe production, antistatic measures being one of them. All static sensitive parts are stored in conductive packaging so that no charge is generated due to handling, which could damage the parts. Employees handling static sensitive parts need to have proper grounding through wrist straps and appropriate footwear. All work tables and storage places need to be appropriately grounded through antistatic mats.

Implementing safety measures and programmes is essential to avoid work related injuries. All too often, safety rules and regulations are ignored. It is important to ensure that employees follow safety rules and managers enforce them strictly. Periodical safety meetings should be held to educate the employees about the proper procedures at a manufacturing plant. It is also essential to keep the work areas clean and organised. This will not only help reduce accidents but will also increase productivity.

Apart from these measures, companies should maintain work instructions, documents and standard operating procedures, which should be periodically audited. Inspection reports are maintained showing compliance to customer specifications. Customer order quantities are converted to production plans after carefully checking the capacity available. In case of a defective product, customer complaints are recorded and appropriate corrective and preventive action is taken. “Any complaints (both external as well as internal) are recorded formally and analysed through the 8D format. Then corrective and preventive action (CAPA) is taken to avoid a recurrence,” explains Sharath Bhat.

Environment friendly manufacturing

While standards differ across the globe, manufacturers must comply with environmental codes to ensure cleaner manufacturing processes and sustainable development in their facilities. In all countries across the globe, environmental compliance like RoHS is driven by governments and people’s groups. Any organisation catering to European Union markets needs to develop products that are RoHS compliant. “Our manufacturing facility and products are RoHS compliant, and a clear procedure for RoHS manufacturing has been laid out. Registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) is also becoming popular with Indian companies as it opens the doors for many MNCs to meet their sourcing needs,” opines Atul Lall, deputy managing director, Dixon Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd.

Kaynes Technology is an OSHAS certified (IS18001) company where all procedures and work instructions have environment, health and safety (EHS) norms embedded. “We have yearly EHS goals to save water, power, etc, and have a lead EHS representative who drives these goals,” says Sharath Bhat.

Unless companies comply with environmental codes, they cannot sustain growth over a longer period. Thus, most companies not only follow waste management and recycling programmes but are also involved in energy saving processes. “We introduced technologies that are environment friendly like lead free components and products. We also produce green products like solar and LED, and 50 per cent of our sales come from green products,” adds Subhash Goyal.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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