Trench Group manufactures high voltage products such as instrument transformers, bushings and coils for electrical and power supply industries. One of the Trench Group manufacturing plants, located in Scarborough, Ontario, specializes in coil products that are used for air coil reactors, line traps, power line carriers, dry type shunt reactors and test reactors. At this specific plant, the Cleaning Room is part of the Finishing Department. This room is one of the final processes before a coil is shipped to the customer. Tools and equipment do not have a designated place and the operator has to change tools many times. Trench Group decided to implement a project utilizing 5S concepts to improve overall cycle times, tool searching, cleanliness and orderliness. 5S stands for Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain, and is one of the pre-requisites for Lean Manufacturing. The purpose of Lean Manufacturing is to identify activities that do not directly contribute to high-quality products and to eliminate wasteful practices, such as time and space inefficiencies. The application of 5S in the Cleaning Room is part of Trench Group’s overall goal to fully integrate the 5S principles and improve efficiency throughout the company by having a clean working environment and increased employee satisfaction.
Raymond See, a second year Management Engineering co-op student at the University of Waterloo, was asked to design a new work cell for the Cleaning Department that incorporated 5S concepts.
Initial state of Cleaning Room
The main teaching objective of this case study is to have students implement 5S principles in a real world application. This case study is recommended for any course that focuses on lean manufacturing.