Pinnacle Engineering has the experience
and analytical skills to identify the
constraints that keep departments,
facilities – or entire supply chains –
from performing at optimum efficiency.
More importantly, Pinnacle has the proven tools
and strategies necessary to help clients eliminate
those constraints in way that is both immediately
productive and highly cost-effective.
Constraint analysis is a highly specific engineering
service that produces high value results. Programs
are always designed to meet specific customer
goals. An outline of a recent, highly successful
Constraint Analysis project completed by
Pinnacle is below.
Pinpoints Bottlenecks &
Opportunities for Aluminum
A major aluminum plate and sheet manufacturer, operating
24/7, contracted with Pinnacle to analyze the production
capability of all major processes in the plate department,
and to quantify the challenges to increasing monthly
production volumes by 25% above the previous 10-month
average. The caveat was to achieve the increase without
major capital expenditures. A second goal was to identify
and prioritize specific opportunities for increasing
throughput using operational changes and/or modifications
to the process, in order to minimize takt time per unit.
There were several complex factors impacting the facility.
The shop had not originally been designed for plate making.
The total products made, when each combination of gage,
length and alloy is considered, numbered in the hundreds –
and was not consistent within a shift or week.
The production process itself was non-linear, and had
numerous monuments (immovable, non-relocate-able
equipment.) Downtime had been historically high, and the
source, despite repeated study, had been elusive. Finally,
a “push” system governed scheduling, so there was a high
level of in-process inventory, and labor resources were
being spent on sorting and searching activities.
These factors had been significant, but not limiting, when
business was at historical averages. In late 2004, however,
with aluminum the “hot” commodity, the constraint became
both highly visible, and critical.
Over a 10-week period, Pinnacle performed a constraint
analysis, conducting interviews and collecting data relative
to each work element and maintenance process. Pinnacle
engineers evaluated metallurgical process practices, as
well as downtime/ scrap rate reports and process-specific
information on each piece of equipment.
Using actual YTD production mix and process cycle
information, Pinnacle determined the maximum theoretical
monthly production capability for each process, and
identified both the obstacles, and the most effective
countermeasures for each. A “pull system” was
implemented to synchronize department output and
Most notably, the maximum average production capability
of the existing equipment following implementation of all
recommendations within the Pinnacle Constraint Analysis
easily met the client’s 25% goal; in fact, it was substantially
Constraint Analysis is an excellent tool for growing
throughput without major capital investment, or for
accommodating a broader – or different – product
mix within a facility.
It is a necessary component of any lean manufacturing
program – and, implemented over time, an excellent
roadmap for continuous improvement.
Constraint Analysis Animation #1
Constraint Anaysis Animation #2
© copyright 2011 Pinnacle Engineering Inc. All rights reserved.