When it comes time to begin production on a new product, it is important to partner with a contract manufacturer that can provide a team of experienced professionals to carry out the assembly and integration.

A great contract manufacturer, like PEKO, will have a team of competent and trained individuals who are supported by their supervisors, provided the necessary tools, and trained in the best assembly techniques, along with a manufacturing system that ensures the team’s success.

Our team here at PEKO works tirelessly to use efficient and effective assembly techniques for customer builds. But you may be wondering—what exactly are the best assembly techniques for low and mid-volume integration?

We talked to our floor managers here at PEKO to offer insight. From tools and techniques to common issues and how to overcome those, this blog offers great tips on integrating your assembly production.

Assembly Techniques for Successful Integration

1. Stay Organized Using 5S Methodology

3 white machines in a low-volume production setting

Effective organization is key to the successful launch and build of low and mid-size machinery and equipment. One tool to keep the workplace organized is 5S, which follows practices like visual identification of machines and parts, cleanliness, standard work instructions, and defined processes by which engage employees. Setting up a successful 5S program starts with a good plan.

Pro Tips for Setting Up a Successful 5S Program

  • The flow of people and material through the assembly area should reduce time and motion wherever possible. This will eliminate waste and keep the process efficient and repeatable.
  • Keeping track of labor hours, build rates and re-occurring issues will help the operations team to identify and eliminate bottlenecks while increasing efficiency and quality at the same time.

2. Use Time Tracking to Stay on Schedule

To ensure an assembly area is effective, managers must measure actual hours worked versus budgeted hours. Tracking hours worked will ensure the customer’s order requirements are understood and that builds are shipped on time. One key to success with time tracking is ensuring processes and training are in place to ensure the correct times are logged to the appropriate jobs. This takes a little more time and care than most people realize.

3. Prioritize Safety & Work Environment

Safety should always be a priority when working on machinery assembly. At PEKO, we always ensure the work environment is safe and free of hazards. This helps cultivate a positive work environment that provides employees with the assurance that we care. We also have many experienced assembly workers on staff to drive each project’s success and to assist our less-experienced workers.

4. Continuously Improve Your Processes

Always look for ways to continuously improve your processes.

This could include…

  • Improving assembly techniques and methods
  • Introducing new tooling or automation
  • Eliminating waste (motion, rejects, rework, etc.)
  • Checking quality (manually or automated) throughout each process

The manufacturing industry is lucky enough to have hundreds of companies producing new and novel efficiency products every year.  Make sure your team is keeping up to date on new, innovative technologies that can help improve process efficiency.

5. Review Layout of Assembly Area for Efficiency

Prior to laying out the assembly area for production, our floor managers extensively review the proposed layout of the work cell to ensure efficiency.

During this review, we ask questions like…

  • Does the flow of people and materials make sense?
  • Is there adequate electricity, air, and water, where required?
  • Is it the most streamlined approach or could machines/materials be moved to eliminate certain assembly steps?

PEKO floor managers will create a workflow based on square footage, size, and shape of the assembly to ensure that both workers and materials can make it in and out of the designated area.

6. Use Dedicated & Secured CAD Workstations

Assembler and engineer reviewing work instructions with computer station behind them

All our assembly programs have their own dedicated and secured workstations with access to CAD models, drawings, and manufacturing packages. These stations are only accessible to the workers dedicated to that specific program. If changes need to be made to the documentation, limited access is given to specific employees and is recorded correctly. This ensures accuracy, consistency, and proper recording practices for future builds. 

Common Problems & How to Overcome

Challenge #1: First-Time Builds

Three white machines in different stages of production

Upon arrival at PEKO, new customers and equipment builds go through our proprietary onboarding service, which is part of our New Product Introduction department. It is in this department where prototypes and the first ten or so pilot builds are housed.

After years of experience, we’ve found this approach to be the most successful for our customers. This is because the NPI department is responsible for many important activities that lay the foundation for a project’s success once it hits full-scale production, like…

  • Building rapport with our new customers
  • Assessing designs for ease of manufacturing
  • Identifying cost-down opportunities
  • Ensuring a seamless transition to assembly

Challenge #2: Employee Skillset

Employees may not always have the appropriate skillset needed for a given build. Not only can this cause problems during assembly, but an untrained employee can also feel overwhelmed and end up with a lower confidence level. To overcome this barrier, increase your on-the-job training or offer outside courses to improve skills in reading and interpreting manufacturing packages and blueprints.

Challenge #3: BOMs with Hundreds of Parts

Some product builds have hundreds of parts in their BOM. Typically, about half of those parts are off-the-shelf motors, drives, hardware, and other commercial components. This can be difficult for some OEMs to manage and can take up a lot of internal resources.

Behind the scenes of a contract manufacturer is a team of people managing the entire supply chain for each program so that the customer is only responsible for the top-level part number when placing orders.

This, of course, is one of the benefits in working with a full-service contract manufacturing company — the ability to focus solely on the R&D of the business, while the contract manufacturer manages the entire manufacturing, production, and assembly of the OEM’s machinery.

Three machines in production showing electrical assembly in the back of machines

Here at PEKO, we have a team of skilled technicians that are committed to providing our customers with efficient and effective assembly techniques for their product builds. Our trained professionals are trained specifically for the product and supported by tools and workstations optimized for optimum quality and efficiency, so you can rest assured knowing your product is being made correctly from start to finish.

If you’re interested in outsourcing your assembly and would like more information, request a quote below!

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