PCB Piezotronics, Inc.

Setup Reduction


  • 25% decrease in individual change-over time
  • 8% decrease in weekly changeover time
  • 22% increase in job capacity per week
  • Improved on-time delivery
  • Easier training of new operators
  • More scheduling flexibility
  • Streamlined tool kitting procedure for all work centers
  • Decrease in programming time


PCB Piezotronics, Inc. is a manufacturer of sensors and process control instrumentation for a wide variety of industrial applications. Founded in 1967, the Depew NY company employs about 440 people, including approximately 300 production workers. Manufacturing operations are conducted in a modern, single-level facility on a three shift basis. Annual sales are growing steadily and are projected to be in the $55 million range for 2004. This is consistent with the 20%+ growth achieved in 2003.


PCB's machine shop fabricates high tolerance parts for both internal and external customers. Recently, the company has seen both an increase in the number of orders as well as a decrease in the amount per order. These changes have resulted in a significant increase to the number of changeovers in their shop, and, consequent-ly in the importance of reducing the historical changeover time to compensate. PCB became aware of Insyte Consulting's expertise in set up reduction while participating in lean manufacturing training and requested assistance.


Insyte Consulting, working with PCB's management team, suggested formal set up reduction training, followed by immediate implementation. This would enable PCB to reap the benefits of set up reduction and allow transfer of this knowledge and implementation to its employees.

Formal training sessions were conducted for 24 members of the machine shop. PCB selected a machine work center to focus on and a team of trained PCB staff were assigned to implement the changeover reduction, with facilitation by Insyte Consulting. A job was randomly selected and a videotape of the current changeover procedure was filmed. Next, an analysis of the changeover elements was made. An immediate action plan was developed and initiated that focused on eliminating and reducing specific elements targeting preparation. Streamlining of the kitting procedure and locating the jobs and kits in the work center area were immediate changes that resulted from this analysis.

A longer term plan was also established and implemented involving design and build of a standard tool holding plate that would incorporate the most commonly utilized tools. This enabled the elimination of removal and attachment of tools from job to job.

At the start of the project PCB was averaging two hours per changeover and running an average of 42.5 jobs per week, utilizing 85 hours per week of non-value-added change-over activities.

Since the revisions to both the methods and the fixtures, these averages have been reduced to one and one half hours per changeover and the number of set ups has increased to 52 jobs per week. This is utilizing 78 hours per week for set ups and freeing up seven hours per week for value-added processing time.

If the number of jobs per week remains constant, this 25% decrease in individual changeover time allows an additional 364 annual processing hours on this work center.

These results are anticipated to increase as more jobs are reviewed and able to be reprogrammed to accommodate the standard tool plate. Currently, 55% of all jobs are now utilizing the standard plate, with an additional 13% expected to be on this plate design.

In addition to the quantitative improvements of increased capacity, shorter set up time and increase number of orders processed, additional benefits include: improved on-time delivery; easier training of new operators; more scheduling flexibility; streamlined tool crib kitting procedure for all work centers within the shop; and decrease in programming time due to use of standard plate. Continuing improvement in all these areas is expected.

" With the implementation of these lean manufacturing techniques, PCB has been able to stay ahead of our tremendous growth." - Mark Kline, Machine Shop Manager, PCB Piezotronics, Inc.