Case Study: Long Cycle, Heavy Maintenance Optimised


Our Client is a Globally recognised first tier organisation, supplying Cast Engine parts to many Vehicle manufacturers. Their problem to tackle was to reduce the amount of internal and external defects. This problem, was constraining the company and causing high overtime and excessive costs to maintain supply to their customers. The main cause of the defects was already identified to be the condition and performance of their Dies and Moulds. The availability of the Dies was a major issue and the turnaround time of dies in maintenance was identified as an area to improve. @Ingeniuslean, based on our expertise in Maintenance Optimisation Programmes, was asked to identify a strategy and method to:

  1. Understand the availability of the tooling issues.
  2. Improve the Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).
  3. Challenge the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR).
  4. Support the Client in a sustainable process to maintain the improvements gained by @Ingeniuslean.
@Ingeniuslean also added the reduction of Internal and External defects to the activity to ensure a results orientated approach.

Our Approach

Ingenius Lean Optimised Cast Engine Parts

@Ingeniuslean consultants split the activity into three main areas:
  1. Detailed analysis and problem solving activity to establish clearly the types and causes of defects. The creation of a live, clear problem solving, visualised meeting area was also set up.
  2. An analysis of the reasons of tooling failures and the turnaround time of the tooling to support the availability issues.
  3. The Plant visualisation. Create a clear, visualisation process of tooling management to ensure quick, live escalation of problems.

The @Ingeniuslean team also took interim management of the day to day running of the factory to lead by example, coach and mentor the plant management in how to operate a Lean Shopfloor.

The @Ingeniuslean Solution

Ingenius Lean Optimised Reduced Lead Time

@Ingeniuslean, after completing a detailed initial study into the Casting operations, found that the defect causes were directly linked to technical problems with the Moulds and Dies after they had been maintained. The turnaround times of the tools could not keep up with low Mean Time Before Failure times and high frequency of changeovers required and therefore were returning to the Machines with incomplete maintenance actions.

@Ingeniuslean solved this problem with the following actions:

  1. To improve the availability, a detailed study of the time it took to maintain a Die, the work content involved and movements of the maintenance teams. For example, during the maintenance actions the tool is moved more than 100 times by crane.
  2. Created a detailed Long Cycle Standardised Work document that enabled a one by one checklist for a successful maintenance procedure.
  3. Optimisation of the Maintenance plant areas to create a flow of the Mould through the area simulating a Takt effect for maintenance. Also, ensuring all equipment was positioned optimally.

In conjunction to the activities above, the defect improvement area, locally known as ‘The Hub’, gave clear and live visualisation of the defect type, location on the part, mould number and other significant data sets. This enabled quick action and countermeasure to process setups and standardisation issues.

Ingenius Lean Optimised Visualisation

The Die maintenance visualisation area was created to show exactly why each die failed, the MTBF for every Mould and the live availability of each Mould type. Other key activities and solutions in this project included:

  • Establishment of a daily management structure
  • Maintenance 5S and visualisation improvements
  • Clear standardisation of Maintenance activities and areas.
  • Shop floor management coaching at all levels


The results of this project were outstanding. The time required to maintain a 25 Tonne mould reduced from 72 to 29 hours and the MTBF was increased from 1950 parts to over 4000 parts before the die failed. This was due to the detailed study of the movements of the equipment and people during the Mould turnaround. For example, another good result was reducing the number of crane movements from 255 to 56. The distance travelled during maintenance was reduced from 1100 M to 116 M. More importantly, the defects at the customer reduced from 8% to 1.2% which coupled with the improved availability of the Moulds facilitated the removal of all weekend working.

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