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Underslung Assembly Line Process Improvement

About

Through the efforts of the MMA-MEP Center at MSU-CAVS-E team, our ability to increase production of generators for the intermodal market has more than doubled. Prior to this team working with us, we were attempting to increase production through methods that were not very lean, including adding to the length of our assembly line and building numerous additional production carts to build units. From the lean manufacturing principles that MMA-MEP Center at MSU-CAVS-E implemented, along with time studies, the length of our assembly line was reduced and with fewer units being on the line each day. Our units produced per day increased, the employees were happier and certain customers requested that we cut back on our weekly shipping volume as we became more efficient. We even outpaced the ability of our vendors to keep up with our demand with production capability increasing weekly.

The Challenge

One of the products that Taylor Power produces is a diesel Reefer Generator Set also known as an Underslung Unit. This unit is designed to provide highly reliable unattended continuous operation for all refrigerated ocean going container units in both over-the-road and rail transport modes. This product has seen an increase in demand which Taylor is struggling to meet. TPS has desire to
increase output of underslung generators because short lead times are very important for this product.
Through the efforts of the MMA-MEP Center at MSU-CAVS-E team, our ability to increase production of generators for the intermodal market has more than doubled. Prior to this team working with us, we were attempting to increase production through methods that were not very lean, including adding to the length of our assembly line and building numerous additional production carts to build units. From the lean manufacturing principles that MMA-MEP Center at MSU-CAVS-E implemented, along with time studies, the length of our assembly line was reduced and with fewer units being on the line each day. Our units produced per day increased, the employees were happier and certain customers requested that we cut back on our weekly shipping volume as we became more efficient. We even outpaced the ability of our vendors to keep up with our demand with production capability increasing weekly.
— Steve Duke, General Manager

MEP's Role

MMA-MEP Center at MSU-CAVS-E created an assembly line based on lean principles with a target of increasing capacity 100%. Cycle time data was used to create a line-balance chart; that chart was then used to re-layout the assembly area. Additionally, work station efficiency for the assembly operators was improved by adding a small inventory of parts in each station. Hour-by-hour production and quality boards were implemented to give hourly feedback to management and the team.
Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 8, 2020