The tiny change that made a big difference...
Time is money. So for manufacturers time saved is money saved. This case study examines how TR Fastenings saved a customer valuable time and thereby made quantifiable savings in the plant's production costs.
The customer in question was Psion Computers plc, a company renowned for its highly innovative and ultra-reliable palmtop computers. The product involved was the Psion Series 5 - an amazing piece of technological wizardry enabling busy business people to carry all the popular desktop applications in a tiny package measuring just a few square centimetres.
The Series 5 had already been selected by the Design Council for a prestigious Millennium Products award, so any suggestion from FERA could not help the company improve the already high quality of its product.
But what FERA could, and did do, was suggest a fastening solution that would help speed up production of the Series 5. Psion's contact at TR is Steve Craven, General Manager of the fastener company's Bracknell-based Microscrews Division, which specialises in tiny, high quality screws in steel, stainless steel and brass in sizes ranging from M3 right down to MO.6 diameter.
He had been supplying Psion with standard M2x4 thread-forming screws. The size of the head meant Psion were also asking him to supply separate washers for use with the screws. However, after discussions with FERA engineers he managed to design a larger headed microscrew, which eliminated the need for a washer. He suggested to Psion that they accept the design change and the idea was a complete success.
Two of the screws - inserted with a pneumatic driver fitted with a magnetic tip are used in each Series 5 to hold in place pivoting panels which give access to the tiny computer's lithium back-up battery and memory storage device.
Insertion of each of the large-headed TR Microscrews saved three seconds in comparison with the former screw and washer configuration.
Psion used up to 50,000 of the fastenings per month. Thus the time saved on the production line through the co-operation between TR's FERA engineers and Psion was up to 21 hours each month - as much as 31 working days in a full year.
Psion Manufacturing Engineer Jon Crook commented: "inserting these screws is now a single operation rather than two operations as before. This has significantly reduced the time of assembly. It roughly halved the time taken, which with the volume we are doing is quite significant".
FROM TWO OPERATIONS TO ONE, EQUALS SAVINGS