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One-Touch Installation

Many people are familiar with the concept of one-touch exchange of dies, an offshoot of SMED. The basically means that there should be a simple, fluid motion to replace dies and fixtures in order to minimize setup time. The concept is present in the real world as well. Consider the straps on backpacks. Many years ago, one would have to feed the running end through a buckle and tighten it back on itself. Now, it is simply a matter of inserting one clip into another. One-touch installation takes that concept to the shop floor with the idea that things should be able to be assembled easily.

Production processes frequently have many motions to them. A typical production environment might have a process where a part has to be aligned with another, clamped in place, and then attached with nuts and bolts. Alternatively, one-touch installation might have a mounting fixture that does the alignment for you, or it might have pins and holes to quickly line up the part. The idea is that the part is immediately placed into position with no need for adjustment and no need to hold the part once it is in place. Sophisticated operations might be able to go further and fasten the parts as part of the one-touch installation, but that typically entails automation. Certainly, though, even if this is not the case, the number of fasteners should be minimized.

Adjustments add variation to processes, which tends to drive productivity down. The station has to be designed to make sure that the longest possible time is covered, or else the whole line can be shut down. Designing processes for one-touch installation serves two main purposes. First, it drives variation out of the system. Second, it reduces the frustration of your team members. They don’t have to fight their processes.

There is also an added safety bonus. Fingers are less likely to get pinched during assembly processes, and partners are less likely to hurt one another while manipulating a heavy part.

One-touch installation tends to have the biggest impact on heavy, large installation processes, as these are typically the ones with the most adjustment and the biggest risk for damage. One-touch installation principles apply for smaller parts, though, as well. The best opportunities can be found whenever people spend time trying to adjust a part while fitting it in place.

Keep in mind that the term one-touch installation is a goal. It is possible in some cases, but not all. Regardless, gains can be had from simply getting closer to one-touch.

Ideas for Implementing One-Touch Installation

  1. Use slots and tabs or pins and holes to make aligning parts easier. Lining up holes is time consuming.
  2. Use wiring connectors when possible. Attaching numerous individual wires slows down assembly.
  3. Use a mounting fixture to align heavy parts at the right height. It should orient the part to mate up with the main assembly.
  4. Avoid cranes for installation. They need many adjustments and tend to not have fine enough control.
  5. Add a reference point to installation fixtures. Make that line up with the product you are installing to.
  6. Avoid relying on the height of transport carts for installation. Carts tend to take abuse, and lose tolerance quickly. Floors can also be uneven, making installation difficult.
  7. Floating fixtures (i.e. on springs) combined with guides that line up with points on the parts make for smooth installation.
  8. Stops and funnel shaped guides help with aligning parts quickly.

  • Small products have the disadvantage of moving when attaching another part to it. This can be alleviated with a mounting fixture to hold the product in place to receive the part.
  • Don’t tolerate the multiple micro-movements that are part of alignment, even if parts are small. Time how long getting a part in the right spot takes, and multiply that out by the total number of units in a year. That is your annual time savings opportunity.


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