Smarter working methods as a result of an innovative tool panel

HTC feels it’s incredibly important to constantly work on improving ourselves. We do this based on the Lean principle, whereby activities which don’t add value (wastage) are eliminated as much as possible. This can include illogical process steps or unnecessary walking movements. We thereby constantly ask ourselves ‘how can it be done smarter or better?’ For example, when assembling the panels for the Speedgates. We’ve mapped out the production time and any possible wastage in order to answer that question. This analysis clearly showed we could make some improvements in relation to the mechanic’s movements between the workbench, the stock rack and the tool panel. Just like surgeons are handed all the instruments they need, a mechanic must also have all the right tools within easy reach. We devised a concept whereby all the necessary tools and materials move along with the mechanic in order to realise this. Like an automated ‘operating theatre assistant’. It goes without saying you can’t develop a concept like this in a matter of days. It was preceded by several brainstorming sessions and sketches. The employees then started working on developing a prototype in the form of a pyramid-shaped tool panel (including a power and air connection) on a swivel arm. It soon became apparent it wasn’t just convenient to have all the tools and materials within easy reach, but that there was also a need for digital project information. Equipping the tool panel with an interactive computer screen meant the project department could digitally share all relevant technical information with the mechanic in the workshop. This is very convenient and much more effective and sustainable than printing paper instructions. The help and expert advice provided by our tool partner Klijn Machines and Tools B.V. ultimately allowed us to transform the prototype into an innovative solution for even more efficient assembly of the panels for our Speedgates. The number of steps the mechanics have to take in one day has been drastically reduced. This has resulted in their work now being done in a much smarter, easier and better way. And perhaps even more important: we can achieve greater efficiency in the same amount of time, without having to work harder or hire extra staff. A fantastic improvement project we’re incredibly proud of. 

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