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During the injection process the rubber used in the injection machines tend to vulcanize before being injected. In these cases material purge is necessary in order not to contaminate the final product. The business identified that the optimization of the process parameters to avoid pre-injection vulcanization and the reduction of the amount of material wasted during the purge, could lead to important material savings.
A Six Sigma project was started (DMAIC) in order to study the different parameters affecting the rubber vulcanization before injection.
Once the parameters affecting vulcanization were located (DEFINE), a systematical measurement method of the critical parameters was introduced as part of the normal operation process.
After an initial measurement period (MEASURE), data was analyzed in order to find variables dependencies (ANALYZE) and predominance influencing variables (ANOVA). A certain number of different experiments were designed (DOE) in order to prove the hypothesis founded during the analyzing period. These experiments proved the validity of the statements and were adopted as new process settings (IMPROVE). As result Pre-injection vulcanization was reduced in aprox. 22 %.
The new parameter settings, the operator awareness of the importance of the reduction of the material waste and the standardization of the purge process (CONTROL) lead to a process performance improvement with a saving of 82.000 Eur/y.
During this project different process improvement opportunities were identified and embedded into the company planned actions in Continuous Improvement.
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