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Hands On Plastic Processing For A Lean Manufacturing Project

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.664.1 - 14.664.10

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Paper Authors

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Dave Kim Washington State University, Vancouver

author page

Yongha Kim Washington State University, Vancouver

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Hands-on Plastic Processing for a Lean Manufacturing Project

Lean manufacturing has proven to be an effective strategy to increase productivity and cost competiveness in the manufacturing industry. Lean manufacturing has been integrated into the existing manufacturing curriculum. In a senior-level manufacturing course, hands-on plastic manufacturing experiments were implemented to allow the students to conduct small scale manufacturing, use value streaming mapping (VSM) techniques to identify the wastes, and improve the process using the Kaizen tools. The experimental manufacturing consists of three steps: 1) the open molding process, 2) the flash removal process, and 3) the packaging process. During the open molding process, a liquid pre-polyurethane is mixed with a curing agent and placed into silicone rubber molds. Through a series of the manufacturing experiments, students developed the VSM of their processes and identify the wastes, which include the waiting time of polymer curing, movement for acquiring a mold release spray, etc. After the Kaizen session, students improved their process by changing the plant layout and improving their set-up and process parameters. According to the student feedback, the hands-on manufacturing experiments was an effective project to review concepts of lean manufacturing, apply lean manufacturing tools to identify wastes or ‘non-value-added’ activities in factories, and suggest how to minimize or eliminate them.

1. Introduction

Lean thinking has been well known as an effective strategy to provide and increase the value delivered to the customer. Lean is based on the Toyota Production System (TPS), which is a more flexible manufacturing system than the traditional mass-production system. Lean manufacturing, developed from TPS, utilizes fewer resources and results in a larger variety of products and at the same time high levels of product quality and service [1,2]. Lean manufacturing has been widely applied in many US manufacturing industries. The lean manufacturing strategy has been employed not only at the large manufacturing firms, but also at small manufacturing companies such as job shops [3,4]. As a result, Washington State University Vancouver Mechanical Engineering Industry Advisory Board has highly recommended to the program to implement lean manufacturing into the curriculum. As a result, a three credit elective course entitled “Advanced Manufacturing Engineering” includes lean manufacturing in the course content. The main objectives of the course are 1) Describe various modern manufacturing processes for various engineering material systems, 2) Understand metrology and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) and apply them into assembly processes, and 3) Define lean/6-sigma tools and develop value stream map (VSM) in manufacturing. Table 1 shows the main topics of the class. Lean manufacturing was taught for the last 4 weeks of instruction.

The subjects taught in class are the following:


Kim, D., & Kim, Y. (2009, June), Hands On Plastic Processing For A Lean Manufacturing Project Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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