The Story of Clarity

Lynar Corporation is a 24hr/5day, CNC milling and turning shop, specializing in production machining of various alloy castings. In an effort to increase productivity, over the years, Lynar had implemented the latest cutting tools, time saving set up techniques and modern, multi pallet horizontal milling centers. Most milling production is run through one of 2 pallet pool, Toyoda horizontal systems. One is a 4 spindle, 22 pallet, Toyoda 450mm FMS and the other is a 2 spindle, 15 pallet, Toyoda 630mm FMS. Toyoda Flexible Machining Systems were a major leap in productivity, enabling Lynar to get far greater uptime than stand alone equipment.

However in Lynar’s 3 shift operation, co-owner Kevin Lesko found it increasingly difficult to track, monitor and motivate productivity across all shifts. “Basically, we were looking for more consistent production output, between all three shifts, in our day to day operations. We were seeing large variation between the number of parts we should be producing and what we quoted. The goal was to have the ability to view our production as it was happening, at any time and during any shift. The solution was to network all of our machine tools, to see what was happening, in real time, even from home.”

In 2008, Lynar turned its attention from the productivity of the machine tools to the way the machines were managed. The Lynar team found that the market had several real-time monitoring software packages available, but each seemed to have the same fault: it was focused only on machine tool utilization, not whether the operator was keeping the machine in cycle to a known standard. Lesko explained, “It’s all about the operator keeping the machine tool in cycle and cutting chips. The operator is the single, greatest influence on whether the machine makes the expected parts on the skid that day.”. With no software fitting Lynar’s needs, Kevin Lesko and his brother Chad, also co-owner of Lynar with their father, began designing their own version of live monitoring software. They would design their software to give real-time tracking and feedback, to both operator and supervisor, of production targets. Part cycle times would also be continually compared to standards, to begin catching jobs that grow outside of what was quoted. Downtime was also added to the list of things that would be tracked, enabling the operators to signal reason codes for issues that got in the way of equipment producing parts. Of course, reports would allow management the ability to then quantify which reasons would be addressed, by order of severity. All of this information would be displayed in a highly visual method, able to be interpreted at a glance. The software got the name Clarity, for obvious reasons and ties right into the shop’s ERP system to gather work order, part number, cycle time, production target and an inefficiency allowance for each part number. Machines cannot run without some downtime, Lesko explained, which is very dependent on the workpiece. Difficult-to-run jobs may require a higher down time allowance than other easy-to-run parts. There is a touch screen computer at each machine tool, displaying the operators uptime they must achieve. Every part number has a pieces per hour associated to it and Clarity defines this as 100% for its display – regardless of machine utilization. “Really, shops don’t quote by machine tool utilization”, Lesko said, “we quote by how many parts are coming off per hour.” That’s what I want to track more than anything. When Clarity displays 100% at the machine tool, our operators know that they are producing to what management has quoted.” Lynar Corporation has seen at least a 15% increase in output, across the entire plant. The development and implementation of the Clarity software was one of the most important developments in years.

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