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Lean Manufacturing Techniques Reduce Lead Time For Implant Production

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Manufacturing Competitiveness

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.808.1 - 8.808.11

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Paper Authors

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Anthony Metzinger DePuy Orthopaedics

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Niaz Latif Purdue University - Calumet

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

Session 2163

Lean Manufacturing Techniques Reduce Lead Time for Implant Production

Anthony Metzinger, Niaz Latif DePuyACE, Purdue University


The industry project described here was completed as a part of a graduate student’s work in the Master’s Degree program in the School of Technology at Purdue University. The project was done at an orthopaedic implant (prosthesis) manufacturing plant in Indiana and deals with the implementation of lean manufacturing strategies for improved productivity. The prosthesis is used in human joint replacement surgery. Degeneration of the bone cartilage from physical damage or arthritis makes the joint stiff and painful. Bone cartilage and damaged bone ends are replaced with metal and plastic components to restore movement and function to the joint. The number of joint replacement surgeries was expected to increase 11-12% by 2002 (Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry Quarterly Review, 2000). To meet the increased market demand, the implant manufacturer needed to increase its production capacity. The Lean manufacturing process uses fewer resources compared to the traditional manufacturing process to manufacture the same products (Rao, 1999). It eliminates waste, reduces lead time, increases product quality, reduces cost of materials, develops the workforce, and implements continuous improvement process (Hall, 1987).

This study examined the relationship between the current global shoulder humeral head (Figure 1) manufacturing process and improvements implemented by lean manufacturing techniques. The humeral head is one of the three components for total shoulder joint replacement. This paper describes the evaluation and implementation of the lean manufacturing strategy that reduced the production lead time for manufacturing of the humeral head. The objectives of the project were to reduce lead time, Work-In-Process (WIP) inventory, and improve material flow, thus improving the productivity.

Implant production and lean manufacturing strategies

The three components (humeral head, humeral body and glenoid) are produced independently of one another. The plant layout is organized with manufacturing operations grouped by process type, not by product types. For example, the humeral head is produced using equipment located in many different areas of the manufacturing facility (Figure 2). Layouts that follow this structure are classified as birdcage layouts by Toyota. Birdcage layouts do not facilitate efficient workflow or balanced work loads, but instead increase WIP inventory and lead times (Monden, 1993). The process grouping requires the product to travel from one location to

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Metzinger, A., & Latif, N. (2003, June), Lean Manufacturing Techniques Reduce Lead Time For Implant Production Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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