Kitting: A Production Difference-Maker

by Dan McKiernan, on Mar 5, 2024 9:52:58 AM

The underappreciated impact of part picking and kitting solutions

Kitting Cell Infographic

The process of kitting—gathering the parts, products, or materials together (into a “kit”) that an operator needs to complete a task or assemble a finished product—is one of those aspects of manufacturing that often goes underappreciated. In much the same way that a great deal of the time it takes to prepare a home cooked meal is taken up by simply getting the ingredients together and measuring, chopping, slicing, or dicing them, kitting can be a significant manufacturing time sink.

Which is why the best examples of the new generation of connected process control solutions almost always have kitting functionality built into the system, and why providers who specialize in helping manufacturers automate and streamline processes put a lot of effort into creating effective kitting solutions. Manufacturers are challenged with buying parts from either generic electronic suppliers and piecing together a solution, or working with a hardware business that builds products specifically for kitting or part picking that are industrialized, hardened, and ready to use.

By partnering with a mainstream supplier like Banner Engineering for sensors, touch lights, and other display components, as a manufacturer you can have the confidence that if a part fails you can quickly obtain a replacement through global distribution networks. Investing a little more up front not only yields a higher quality solution, but enables manufacturers to take advantage of evolving technology in real-time.

Other best practices for a high-quality kitting solution include making sure that the system hardware is designed for easy “plug-n-play” set-up and support. Every part of the system should be upgradeable, repairable, and replaceable. By using standardized industrial hardware, software configuration in the system is much quicker to implement. That combination of utility and intuitive, user-friendly control makes it easier to set up and make changes quickly when needed.

Manufacturing Assembly Pick Task Using Light Indicators

Implementing a thoughtfully designed, high-quality kitting solution can lead to significant improvements in efficiency on the manufacturing floor. For instance, with the introduction of Connected Process Control for kitting and part picking, one Epicor customer experienced a remarkable reduction in pick times from 20-30 minutes down to 3 minutes. This dramatic decrease not only saves valuable time but also enhances productivity, allowing operators to focus on other critical tasks and ultimately boosting overall throughput. Additionally, the streamlined process minimizes errors and helps ensure that the necessary components are readily available, leading to smoother production runs and improved customers satisfaction.

In an industry where time is money and mistakes can be costly, such a dramatic time savings and new level of pristine accuracy is remarkably valuable. All this is possible entirely due to improvements in that one crucial step in a newly connected production process.

To delve deeper into how kitting can streamline your manufacturing process, download our Kitting Brochure. Discover insights on efficient part picking solutions and integrated process control software to enhance your workflow.

Topics:OpinionDigital Work InstructionsQuality ManagementKittingConnected Process Control

The Blog

Our team is a creative bunch that loves learning and pushing the limits to find the best solutions for today's lean manufacturers.  Internal discussions at the office might range from new features that manufacturing process control software should have to machine learning, blockchain technology, or what the future of AR on the plant floor looks like. Check out our blog for opinions, news and trends that we find interesting and think you might too!