Takt time balance of assembly lines of boilers and water heaters

8 10 2009

by Marco Ragno

There are some strategies that manufacturers of boilers and water heaters can put in place to balance the takt time (= cycle time) of their assembly lines. From my experience I know that the final test takes the most part of the whole time required to manufacture a boiler or a water heater. To avoid, or reduce, bottle necks at final test, the following strategies can be implemented:

  1. Early tests
  2. Dry + wet tests
  3. Real time fumes analysis
  4. Software for parallel tests
  5. Direct communication with appliance PCB

1.  Early tests

Early tests are used to test sub-assemblies of a boiler or a water heater, such for instance the hydraulic assembly or the gas assembly, before the final test of the appliance. This means that the final test time will be shorter because those assemblies have already been checked and tested. We have in our catalog machines for the early test of hydraulic assemblies, gas assemblies, dashboards, water-gas valves.

2.  Dry + Wet tests

We have collaborated with different manufacturers to improve the takt time of their lines through the analysis and break down of those steps which introduced delays. The result is that some boilers manufactures have now split the final test into two phases: dry and wet. These two phases can be combined in such a way that some test steps can be executed in parallel allowing a benefit in terms of time saved.

3.  Real time fumes analysis

The analysis of the combustion fumes is one of the phases of a functional test of a boiler or water heater. The most used instruments have long response time that, combined with the manual operations needed to set the boilers and water heaters to their max and min, produce a long test time. We have developed a real time fumes analysis system, based on the lambda probe (the same that is used to check the cars’ exhausts), that have incredibly reduced the time needed to check the fumes (read also this post).

4.  Software for parallel tests

Our engineers, here at Microplan, have developed a software able to manage parallel tasks. This is a very powerful tool for all those who want to optimise the time required by the final test. An accurate analysis, carried out in collaboration with different customers, has demonstrated that standard test sequences, most of the times, introduce waiting times because one step of the sequence cannot be performed until the previous is concluded. The result of this analysis has produced a new version of our software where parallel tasks can be managed with a significant contribution to time saving at final test. 

5.  Direct communication with appliance PCB

read my previous post

Marco Ragno


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