5S - II: Selective Soldering Station

We've begun our processes of applying the 5S principles to our entire factory. We're going to take this slow and be methodical about implementing 5S. To begin with, we started at our selective soldering station. This was an obvious fit because things had gotten out of control, as you can see in this picture. Selective Soldering Station - Before


This was in the middle of a changeover, so normally it's not quite so messy, but it makes for a nice dramatic picture. Either way, it certainly wasn't very organized. So we applied the 5S principals. Which are Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. We began with Sort. This basically required us removing everything from the workstation and setting it aside so that we could Shine. Here's a picture in process.

Selective Soldering Station - In Process

As you can see we completely removed every item from the workstation and you can see the glisten that remains from having washed down the bench really well. You can also see our pegboard that we're about to use to make a shadow board. We mounted the pegboard to the bench and hung all of the tools necessary for this workstation. Once we were happy with our layout we went ahead, traced out each tool, and colored in each area to create a shadow of where each tool belongs. Here's a picture of the result

Selective Soldering Station - After

And in the following picture you can see exactly what happens when one tool is being used.

Selective Soldering Station - Shadow

As you can see, the hot gloves have been removed and their shadow remains on the board, telling the operator exactly what's missing and where it belongs. This is going to save our operators an enormous amount of time. Now they'll have access to all of their necessary tools without having to search for them, and they'll be able to keep their area nice and clean without hardly any effort at all.

This is really exciting stuff for us here at WAi. We're going to go ahead and standardize this type of setup for all of our operations. Surface Mount Technology, SMT Inspection, Automated Thru-Hole Insertion, Hand Insertion, Post Selective Soldering, Board Washing, Post Board Washing, Final Inspection and Shipping. We'll be sure to keep posting pictures and descriptions of our changes.

Selective Soldering Station

5S: I

We’re making big changes here at WAi. For a long time WAi has been a great little ‘mom and pop’ electronics manufacturing shop. And that culture is still at the core of everything we do. But we’d like to be the most efficient mom and pop electronics manufacturing shop that anybody has ever seen. That takes some work and we’re excited to get started. First things first though. We need to get organized. For a long time our feeders for our pick and place machine were stacked, one on top of the other. This worked well but made it difficult to find the right parts. So we decided to do something about it. Buy some great carts for Bliss Industries. Even though their carts are a great value (some people consider their products expensive, but when you consider just how well made they are, they’re a bargain) but our feeders are so inexpensive, we couldn’t justify spending the same amount of money storing them as it cost us to buy them. So instead we found a great solution in just machining some MDF. Here is a before pictures of how are feeders were stored.


Feeder Storage - Before

This worked well enough. But as you can see, there’s no way for us to identify what size each feeder is and whether or not any of them might be broken. We got by, but we knew we could do better. So after putting in our newly machined MDF shelves, here’s what our feeder storage looks like.


Feeder Storage - After

Our new setup is so much better. This picture was taken just a few moments before we labeled each shelf and made it clear what size feeders belonged where, as well as labeling a specific shelf for suspect feeders that might not be functioning properly. The center area of our shelves leaves plenty of room for our reel holders to fit in between.

Looking forward to more projects like this, and you can be sure we’ll be posting our before and after pictures for our transition.