Whether it’s a tool change on a machine or reconfiguring a production line, changeovers are an inevitable part of batch production. Poor production scheduling adds unnecessary changeovers and as customers demand greater customization with lower minimum order quantities, manufacturers are under pressure to gain more efficiencies in order to stay competitive.


SITUATION: A contract manufacturer for major oilfield service companies has 50 CNC machines with 300 outstanding customer orders at any given time. Factory floor foremen know which machines are best for specific operations and know which setups are currently installed in their machine cells. Using this knowledge, foremen tell machinists which orders and operations to work on.

CHALLENGE: The changeover decisions on the factory floor are made by gut feel and experience. How can the factors which go into these decisions be systematically captured in Synchronous Zeno which can then find additional opportunities to decrease changeovers between operations?

SOLUTION: To begin, each operation and it’s projected timing can be inputted into Synchronous Zeno. Operations can then be tied to a machine group, which the algorithms can use to assign each operation to a specific machine. Tablets deployed throughout the factory floor can show the exact schedule of operations for each machine and collect operation start/end times. Over time, operation timings become more precise while the knowledge and experience from the foremen become captured in Zeno to then identify additional opportunities to decrease changeovers as it generates production schedules.