Kaizen, a globally recognized Japanese business principle, emphasizes continuous improvement as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy. Kaizen’s focus on continuous improvement is a crucial part of Lean Manufacturing, another globally recognized business principle, which focuses on the systematic elimination of waste. The WiKi-SCAN™ is the perfect tool to combine both Kaizen and Lean processes that will ultimately improve welding processes, weld quality, and productivity.
When shooting for “Perfect First Time Quality” (the first principle of Lean Manufacturing) a very systematic approach must be used. Here, the WiKi-SCAN™ can be used to measure the existing quality level across all welders, manual and automated, which establishes the quality metric baseline. From there, specific plans can be put in place to drive continuous improvement.
The second major principle of Lean Manufacturing is waste minimization. In welding operations, this is exemplified most visibly by the excess weld metal that is very often deposited. This extra weld metal an often exceed the design requirement by 50 – 150%.
The WiKi-SCAN™ can again combine the Kaizen principle of continuous improvement and the Lean Manufacturing principle of waste reduction by accurately measuring and outputing the percent over welding, while also indicating the resultant weld geometry, i.e. leg sizes, reinforcement heights, etc. This information can then be used to determine the extra cost in wire, gas, and power, as well as the magnitude of the resultant decrease in travel speed. Other adverse effects of over welding can be extra distortion and reduction in joint strength due to metallurgical changes.
The third principle of Lean Manufacturing, and the entire concept of Kaizen, is focused on continuously improving. The WiKi-SCAN™ can be used to improve almost all aspects of the welding process, from training of welders to checking final post-weld quality. It can also be used to assist with on-the-job training by providing immediate feedback to the welders as to their progress by providing objective grades. By producing welds close to the minimum requirement, the average welding speed will increase and the average cost per foot of perfect, first time fillet welds will shrink. The WiKi-SCAN™ will allow a company to maintain these improvements over time by facilitating improved communication with all the welders by supervision of their welding processes.