What is centerlining in manufacturing?
Centerlining is a set of visual tools in manufacturing used to ensure that machines perform at an optimal level. The objective is for machines to function at maximum efficiency while consistently producing high-quality products.
From the perspective of frontline workers, a centerline is a reference point that indicates whether a machine is running properly. If the centerline shifts, something is going wrong within the machine and adjustments need to be made to maintain efficiency.
Why is centerlining important?
Centerlining is crucial to maintaining efficient production lines and guaranteeing high-quality end products.
First of all, centerlining ensures that machines are started up with optimally calibrated settings. Operators know exactly what to do and can therefore start production without making mistakes or wasting time. This also applies to changeovers, which are performed much quicker when centerlines have been established.
Moreover, maintaining centerlines prevents machines from breaking down or producing products with nonconformances. In manufacturing, even a change of mere millimetres can have a significant impact on product quality. Centerlining therefore prevents mistakes that can come with a hefty price tag.
Why centerlining is difficult
Centerlining can be difficult to perform. Some machines have a plethora of settings, and in a high-volume production line with several daily changeovers, this task can be daunting for operators.
The trouble is that centerlining is still performed using analog means or through the tribal knowledge of operators.
Information about optimal machine settings is often found on documents that are located in filing cabinets far from the shop floor.
Even if the right document is within reach, there’s a chance that it may be outdated and therefore not useful to the task at hand.
Additionally, there is no efficient method for capturing data on machine settings. Typically, paper checklists are used and then processed in spreadsheet software such as Excel. However, the limits of software prevent the data from providing valuable information on machine performance.
Finally, there is a challenge when it comes to maintenance. If an old part is replaced, the centerline for that machine has likely changed, increasing the probability of an issue ocurring.
How digital tech improves centerlining
A Connected Worker Platform like 4Industry equips operators with a mobile device that includes all the necessary features to maintain a perfectly centerlined process.
To begin with, digital checklists ensure operators have the correct settings required to run a process, regardless of the machine or product involved. This guarantees smooth startups and quick changeovers, and thereby eliminates a significant amount of waste.
Recurring tasks can be assigned to operators remotely to monitor machines and capture valuable data. To ensure that a machine remains centerlined throughout a shift, a checklist can be assigned that registers its settings. 4Industry’s software automatically transforms this data into intuitive dashboards and reports, providing supervisors with much-needed visibility into a process’s efficiency.
Instead of taking a reactive approach to efficiency loss, 4Industry enables you to become proactive.
By applying performance analytics and trends, the system monitors shifts from a centerline in real time and alerts you before a problem turns into a complete breakdown.
If an issue occurs, it can be easily escalated into a troubleshooting request or a root cause analysis. Plus, since all data is stored within 4Industry’s software, you can rest assured that an issue will be addressed instead of being forgotten or ignored.
Improve your centerlining with 4Industry
If you’re curious about how 4Industry can help improve centerlining in your factories, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts. We’re convinced that digital tech can take centerlining to the next level, and would be more than happy to show you how our Connected Worker Platform supports this process.