Epiroc Drilling Solutions is a leading manufacturer of mobile drilling rigs for open pit blasthole mines, water wells, oil, and gas. They describe their method of assembly as ‘low volume, high mix,’ but their previous process didn’t support this.
Prior to VisualFactory, operator Work Instructions consisted of a process book, a Bill of Materials, (BoM) and a set of drawings.
Instructions were written at a high level and made generic to cover all of the options a rig requires. This was confusing and time consuming for operators, as there was no link between the BoM and approximately 300 drawings.
Epiroc relied heavily on experienced operators to remember the routes. Each operator followed their own sequence of steps, which resulted in an inconsistent process with varied quality.
The most experienced operators would then spend a lot of time sharing this inconsistent knowledge with new staff, further embedding variability into the process.
Epiroc’s production team discovered that a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) would help them bring consistency to their process. After extensive research into the market, NoMuda’s Lean Manufacturing heritage caught their attention. NoMuda has over 20 years of experience in developing VisualFactory that became Epiroc’s MES of choice.
“NoMuda VisualFactory met our initial requirements but was able to offer us features that we didn’t even know existed,” says Industrial Engineer Lead, Dario Padilla.
VisualFactory has been integrated with Epiroc’s ERP to export the Bill of Materials (BoM) and Work Orders. This makes it easier for their skilled engineering team to create a set of standardized Work Instructions for its Operators.
The Work Instructions are now used on subassembly areas and the main flow line in the facility, which accounts for around 70% of their production volume.
“Our environment is now cloud-based and we can use a superBoM to configure our low volume, high mix production,” said Industrial Engineer Supervisor, Ryan Krueger.
Initially there was some pushback from the shop floor as they were used to the paper process, but the more they used VisualFactory they realized the benefits. It tells them exactly what needs to be done - there’s no guessing.
Dario continued to explain, “what helped us change the mindset on the floor is how user friendly it is. When I train people on the floor, it’s so intuitive and easy to use - not only for the operators but also for the authors and maintenance team.”
Ryan added, “We have achieved a more consistent build sequence, with quality and time improvements.”