MRO Magazine

Plant takes top honours in fifth annual Find It-Fix It Challenge

Ann Arbor, MI - The Timken Company has been named the winner of Humantech Inc.'s fifth annual Find It - Fix It Challenge. The Find It - Fix It Challenge recognizes and rewards simple and effective workplace solutions that result in increased...


Health & Safety

November 16, 2011
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

Industries

Ann Arbor, MI – The Timken Company has been named the winner of Humantech Inc.’s fifth annual Find It – Fix It Challenge. The Find It – Fix It Challenge recognizes and rewards simple and effective workplace solutions that result in increased productivity, improved worker morale, and fewer workplace injuries and illnesses.

Honourable mentions for the Challenge were given to John Deere Turf Care, located in Fuquay-Varina, NC, and to the Ashland Water Technologies site in Nantou, Taiwan.

The contest was derived from Humantech’s Rapid Team Events, which are based on the concept of making quick, simple, visible changes to improve ergonomic issues in the workplace. From over 200 entries received, representing 17 companies, one winner was selected and two honourable mentions were recognized.

Timken’s Manchester Plant in Manchester, CT, took top honours with its Bull Gear Deburring Fixture entry. The associate responsible for the task suggested an opportunity for improvement and the idea went straight to the plant’s safety manager.

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“Competing in the Find It – Fix It Challenge is a great way to inspire our associates to develop ergonomic solutions. This is a perfect example of continuous improvements in our operations. We improved our associates’ work environment and employed lean processes to streamline our manufacturing processes, reducing processing speed and increasing quality levels,” says Bob Scott, principal ergonomics engineer.

Timken’s improvement focused on improving the deburring process (a finishing method in which rough edges of metal are smoothed) of a planetary gear weighing more than 400 lb. Prior to the improvement, the operation was performed with the gear placed in a horizontal position, requiring the operator to bend over to grind the edges off the gear teeth. Because of the limited reach in this position, the operator had to lift the gear multiple times throughout the process to successfully deburr the entire component.

“Through teamwork and engineering problem-solving, we achieved substantial ergonomics improvement by creating a fixture to hold the gear in a vertical position, and using a roller system that allows for fast and easy adjustment. Mounting the fixture on a portable, adjustable table allows the associate to perform the work more comfortably,” says Scott Amendola, EHS analyst at Timken. “In less than four months, the project also achieved its return on investment and has improved customer service by reducing delivery times,” he adds.

“Winning the Challenge is a great achievement that belongs to our associates who are dedicated to making our workplace safer, and we look forward to participating in next year’s Find It – Fix It Challenge,” says Scott.

John Deere Turf Care received an honourable mention with its Mid-Z Eyebolt entry. Prior to the improvement, the operator had to manually turn a nut on the eyebolt, three-quarters of the way down, 240 times a day. By mounting an air tool to a fixture with a foot control, the operator only has to start the nut; the tool turns the nut to its required location on the eyebolt within seconds.

Ashland Water Technologies also received an honourable mention with its Raw Material Transfer entry. Prior to the improvement, the operator had to break apart frozen material by striking it with a stick. By providing equipment to compress the pail hard enough to break the frozen material, the operator is no longer required to manually strike the container, which eliminates all hand, leg and back issues.

To view the recorded webinar announcing the winners and highlighting the 15 finalists, visit http://www.humantech.com/about/find-it-fix-it-challenge.

The 2012 Find It – Fix It Challenge is scheduled to kick off in early summer 2012.