Just In Time Manufacturing: Shop Floor Tug

xtraproductdisplayrevaJust in Time (JIT) Manufacturing is a model where production meets demand rather than creating surplus in advance of need. It aims to eliminate waste related to overproduction, waiting, and excess inventory. JIT has been adopted throughout American manufacturing with great success. However, making these changes can result in other demands that need to be met.

For example, the JIT model often affects the layout of the shop floor. Work cells may be smaller because they don’t have to accommodate as large a volume of materials. Similarly, these cells can be placed closer together. This helps save time in moving parts between stations, and it creates more space elsewhere. However, manipulating space can create other ergonomic and safety problems.

When parts pile up to be transported, the two most common means of moving them are with forklifts or manual labor. Before JIT, lift trucks were the most common vessels used to move parts, especially bulky or heavy loads. With a JIT layout, production workers often find work cells too small to accommodate a forklift. Additionally, the JIT model demands more frequent movement in this limited space. It just isn’t feasible to use a lift truck in this application.

Without the forklift, the next most common way to transport anything is for staff to push or pull it across the shop floor. Logically, one would think that transporting lighter loads across shorter distances would be relatively safe. However, risk of injury is still a major concern here.  First, maneuvering a cart or other transport vessel in a small space places awkward stress on joints and muscles. Over time, this can lead to a number of chronic injuries. Second, while it is safer to push lighter weight across a shorter distance, the loads are moved more times a day. Repetition is actually a greater factor in musculoskeletal disorder development than anything else. No matter what, this type of manual labor can result in costly, debilitating chronic injury.

The best solution to this problem is the Load Mover Inc. shop floor tug. It is the ideal equipment for the manufacturing environment, especially in a JIT model. The compact design of the “Xpress” unit offers a high level of maneuverability for loads lighter than 1,000 pounds. The battery powered shop floor tug has a variety of attachments and features for moving a variety of parts and sizes. All of the units require only one operator, so one person can safely and swiftly move parts between operations or work cells. The unit is also ideal for moving parts to and from inventory.

For heavier hauls, Load Mover Inc. has an “Xtra” capable of moving 20,000 pounds and an “Xtreme” that can haul 50,000 pounds. Many companies find that using two different sized models optimizes productivity when load weight increases drastically throughout fabrication.

If you need to reduce risk of operator injury and product damage in your JIT model, call Load Mover Inc. We will help you determine which unit will maximize your efficiency and optimize safety. Contact us at 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.