By Ty Haines, President at Manufacturer Solutions, LLC
MS Engineering, BS Business Administration

Paint Line Improvements


Bottleneck operation, low efficiency, slows downstream assembly, late deliveries, burning premium overtime costs to attempt to catch up, always behind and building staff frustration.

Simple process: remove mask, remove painted part on a chain conveyor, check coverage, aside to tote, place unpainted part on conveyor, place mask on, repeat.

Analysis & Symptoms:

  • Paying for a 7.3 hour workday, getting 6.5 hours of production
  • Line speed at 80% of maximum, Operator waiting on machine.
  • Efficiencies in 70-80% range; Operator idle time was present
  • Shutdowns: for breaks, cleaning paint heads, early shutdown for cleanup and breaks, morning startups delayed, lost time for shutdown for breaks and return from breaks.
  • Unclear expectations for Operators and Set-Up
  • Acceptance by all that this was the norm.

Improvements & Results:

Up to 144% increase in throughput, bottleneck relieved, process sustainable: no longer a cause of late deliveries!

Solutions provided:


Create common understanding that we are:

a)   Late on orders because we do not have painted parts downstream (frustration, waste due to daily re-planning of schedules)

b)   Unhappy customers do not give us more business (no growth for company)

c)   Long term late deliveries inspire customers to take business elsewhere. (job security & negative growth for company)

d)   Company does not earn money for when not painting parts.(negative growth for company)

e)   Not becoming better, but retracting and increasing risk of negative consequences

Back to basics of Production:

1.   Enforce rules for Operator to be at machine making parts at beginning of shift, breaks and end of shift; continue to work until break time, and take pride in job ownership

2.   Reduce downtime for startup, mid-shift cleaning guns, end of shift clean up.

3.   Run continuous through staggered breaks

4.   Boldly post goals for day, progress at mid-day and results for day

5.   Celebrate the new norm and acknowledge achievement when team hits top throughput numbers

6.   Supervision must ensure the above happens each shift, every day.

Machine: was in poor shape, we started applying a little of the 6S Lean tool.

1.  Clean up debris in drive housing, service drive and lubricate

2.  Clean off build up from chain and track, lubricate chain

3.  Set routine service time and tasks for machine; acquire spare parts

4.  Realign pre-heater to effectively allow increased line speed. Add warmer to parts on conveyor to Operator for loading heavier parts where more heat is needed.

5.  Increase machine speed and verify parts are good

6.  Used conveyor to stage multiple parts totes instead of stop, get new tote, restart parts loading.

Set Up and Support:

1.  Have line ready to run with better planning by start of shift and arrival of Operator

2.  Prepositioning materials prior to shutting down line to reduce time that the line was waiting to get paint, tips (water spider concept)

3.  Use quick change, quick release where possible

4.  Reduce set up and tear down times; Operator participates – first part now on conveyor very shortly after shift start, end of shift cleanup of guns & booth starts while Operator is still packing painted parts off the conveyor.

Key points to success:

  • Engagement of all associates in the area to understand issues and gain ideas.
  • Attitude shifts from passive & detached to knowing, caring & active participation
  • Sustaining the changes and include celebratory recognition.

Manufacturer Solutions, LLC supplements your team to get needed results. Check them out: click here.

Published by Stephen Kovatch

Senior Client Manager  Stephen J. Kovatch focuses on assisting clients in establishing corporate regulatory compliance programs in the areas of air, water, and waste management. Mr. Kovatch also provides direction to industrial facility owners who are active in the transaction of contaminated property by defining objectives, coordinating soil and water sampling protocols, risk assessment, and remedial / cleanup activities. He frequently represents clients in property sales negotiations and regulatory agency and insurance proceedings.

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