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10 Tips for Designing Your Own Assembly Line

March 29, 2023

It's no secret that the success of your warehouse boils down to the efficiency of your assembly line. That's why it can feel quite overwhelming to approach the task of designing your own. Each warehouse has its own necessities and unique requirements, which is why it's such a good idea to design your own line. After all, you won't get one better suited for you than one you made yourself. However, before you dive in, it's important to know some crucial aspects of the process to prepare yourself for everything that goes into it. That's why we've developed these tips for designing your own assembly line.

What's an Assembly Line?

Of course, you might already know what an assembly line is. However, a little refresher is important, as it helps put you in the mindset to take those first steps in the design process. So an assembly line is a process of production wherein a team of workers and machinery assemble a product one step at a time. This process is dutifully structured, so each step within the sequence happens at the most practical time.

However, ensuring that your assembly line completes each step in the process at the opportune time is easier said than done. The way you sequence your assembly line mostly depends on the product you make, the machinery you work with, and your workers. No matter the different factors affecting your assembly line, consider the following tips when designing it.

Think Simplistically

We tend to think that the more intricate our designs, the more sophisticated they are. The only problem is that the intricacy of your product can result in delays or problems with your assembly line. That's why it helps to simplify the number of manufacturing pieces your line will utilize. Another plus to simplifying the assembly process by using fewer parts is that it can also save you on ordering costs.

Consider Durability

One thing you must keep in mind is that workers and—possibly—automated machinery will assemble your products. That means a range of people with differing skills and gentleness will handle the necessary parts and tools. Therefore, ensuring you use durable pieces and tools is a good idea. They shouldn't break if someone grabs them too tight or if they slip from someone's hand. Moreover, fragile pieces can result in heightened costs for repairing and reordering.

Use Fewer Tools

You have likely experienced the frustration of building or working on something and having to grab several different tools. As you place down a tool and pick up a new one, it can feel like the building process will never end. Now take that feeling and superimpose it on your assembly line.

If your workers have to repeatedly place down and pick up a new tool to work on the product, it can add considerable time to the process. Plus, it may even result in confusion and misplacement of tools. Therefore, when designing your own assembly line, try to minimize the number of tools necessary for production.

Use Built-In Fasteners

Simplifying the building process is important, so you might consider working with built-in fasteners. If your workers must use nuts and bolts to assemble your products, finishing each piece can take a while. In your warehouse, a lot of your success depends on your output, which is why built-in fasteners are always a nice option. They are less labor and time intensive in comparison to traditional fasteners.

Utilize Automation

Nowadays, it's quite normal for warehouses to utilize automated machines in their assembly line. This is because automation greatly reduces operation and labor costs and improves time efficiency. You don't have to automate every step of the process, but you might consider utilizing automated machines for some parts. The best parts to automate include aspects of the process that require screwing, knotting, or inserting.

Plan for Variation

Have you ever done a puzzle and thought you found a perfect fit, only to find yourself forcing the pieces together? If you can't get those two pieces together, you won't be able to finish the entire puzzle. This is a situation you don't want happening in your assembly process.

You should ensure your product can accommodate pieces within a certain range of dimensions. If you don't account for variation, you can find yourself with more delays and challenges as workers struggle to fit pieces together if they don't meet exact measurements.

Always Provide Training

You can imagine how challenging approaching a new assembly line is without full-fledged training on how to operate the system. That's why it's incredibly important to provide orientation to the workers in your warehouse. However, make sure to provide an orientation on the entire assembly process, including automated aspects. That way, your workers will know their specific training and the aspects of the entire assembly process.

Prioritize Safety

As you design your assembly line, you should always prioritize safety. It's incredibly important that your workers are safe throughout every step of the process. That's why you must install machine guarding wherever you can. The best places to put guarding are in areas that can be dangerous when the machine is in normal operation.

Limit Possibilities for Errors

It makes sense you want every step of your assembly line to be as error-proof as possible. When you begin the assembly line process, you'll notice inefficiencies and inconsistencies on the line, which are opportunities to improve the process. Another way to reduce errors is to make the process as straightforward as possible. One way to do this is to include step-by-step guidelines your workers can follow and refer to any time they need a refresher.

Allow for Adjustment

Use aluminum extrusions when building your assembly line because you likely will have to workshop the assembly process and make adjustments as you go. In that, you need a building tool that allows for adaptability. Aluminum extrusions are so workable, as they are easy to build and disassemble if you need to make changes to your work process.

Are you looking for custom aluminum T-slot fabrication services for your industry? At A-line Automation, we are happy to help you increase the efficiency of your assembly line process. Request a quote today for your custom aluminum fabrication process.

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