Category Archive: News & Info

A Look into Deep-Drawn Stamping: Choosing an Edge Type for Your Industry

Table of Contents

  1. Which Edge Type is Right for You?
  2. Common Industries for Deep-Drawn Stamping
    • Medical & Pharmaceutical
    • Agriculture
    • Military
    • Aerospace
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
  3. Major Applications of Modular Construction

Which Edge Type is Right for Your Deep Drawn Stamping?

Deep-Drawn StampingOn many projects our customers have a hard time determining the proper edge type for their deep drawn stamping design. The edge type can be the difference in a cost effective and ready to assemble part. This guide will help you determine the best edge type for part performance and cost savings.

Blank and Draw With Un-Trimmed Flange

If your design requires a flanged edge but it is not a critical dimension, you can use the “Blank and Draw with Un-Trimmed Flange” edge type to save on your cost per part. This option uses no additional tooling and results in an irregular flange diameter. It will not be concentric to the overall drawn part. Please specify the burr side in your design.

Blank and Draw With Trimmed Flange Diameter

When the flanged edge of your deep drawn part is a critical dimension for assembly, specify the “Blank and Draw with Trimmed Flange Diameter”. The process produces precision flange diameters through additional tooling or stations. The extra stations or tools will increase the cost per part and be more expensive than other edge type options, but it will produce assembly ready pieces. Please specify flange and burr direction when designing your part with this edge type.

Pinch Trim Cut

If your design does not require a flange, and a slight flare at the edge of your deep drawn part is acceptable, the “Pinch Trim Cut” is an option. The size of the flare at the open end of the draw will depend on the material thickness. With the “Pinch Trim Cut” edge you can specify your cut, break, and burr side preference when designing your deep drawn part. It is possible that additional tooling may be required for certain combinations of material thickness, depth, and burr direction. However, the goal is to do all of this in the same process to keep costs down.

Shimmy Die Cut

If your design requires a completely clean cut edge or the sidewalls of your deep drawn part will have notches or shapes, the “Shimmy Die Cut” is an alternative. Additional tooling is required to achieve this precision and with that comes increased cost per part. Select this edge type when your design mandates a clean edge or additional cut features in the open end of the draw. Keep in mind that the burr will be on the inside of the draw.

Flush Trim Cut

The “Flush Trim Cut” is a cost effective alternative to the “Shimmy Die Cut”. As the cut can be performed during the draw process, no additional tooling is required for a 10-25% of stock thickness radius on the inside of the draw. If the radius is acceptable for your design, the cup side burr is not going to cause assembly issues, and a completely clean cut is not required, this is an option to explore to save manufacturing costs.

Blank and Draw No Flange

When side wall edges are not important for your final part, the “Blank and Drawn No Flange” provides the most cost effective solution. There is no additional design or tooling cost as the edge is allowed to shape in an irregular fashion. The resulting edge will be inconsistent and varied based on the depth of the draw and the stock material thickness. The burr will be on the inside of the draw. If the finally assembly of your product does not require a precise edge on the deep drawn parts, this is an area where you can save on production costs at the design stage.

Common Industries for Deep-Drawn Stamping

Deep-drawn stamping is a popular and versatile way to form metal sheets into hollow, axisymmetric shapes. Using this manufacturing technique, stampers work with dies to shape large metal sheets, or blanks, into specific forms. This stamping method is distinct from other metal stamping techniques in that it creates deeper objects and components than other methods can accommodate. In fact, stamping is typically only called deep drawing if the item’s depth is at least as long as its radius.

This process is most commonly used to produce cylindrical components, but it can build other shapes as needed, including boxes as well as more complex geometries. Given this capability, deep-drawn stamping can be used to create for a wide range of subcomponents for household and industrial objects, including:

  • Sinks
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Baking pans
  • Automotive parts
  • Beverage cans
  • Casings
  • And many other products

One of the key benefits of deep-drawn stamping is that it allows for low-cost production at high volumes. This efficiency is possible even when extremely precise tolerances are required because the process can continue with little downtime once the proper molds have been cast and the proper dies have been configured. Deep-drawn stamping is indispensable to large swathes of the global manufacturing community, and we explore a few of its most common industrial uses below.

How to Select a Deep Drawn Edge Type

Medical and Pharmaceutical

Medical and pharmaceutical tools must be manufactured with extremely high precision to comply with industry standards. They’re often made of steel alloys and other metals because these materials are easy to disinfect. Because deep-drawn stamping complies with the wide range of geometries, tolerances, and biocompatibility issues required by medical device manufacturers, the technique is used to produce subcomponents for:

  • Syringes
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Thermometer probe covers
  • Surgical devices
  • And many other medical technologies


Deep-drawn stamping is used to manufacture a diverse array of plumbing and irrigation system components because many of these parts require axisymmetric shapes that can resist leaks and withstand a wide variety of corrosion risks and weather issues. Some agricultural subcomponents built using deep-drawn stamping include:

  • Irrigation pipes
  • Connectors
  • Casings
  • Pumps


Deep-drawn stamping’s ability to mass produce large volumes of intricate items at tight tolerances and with quick turnaround times can prove crucial in military applications, which rely on this technique to build weapon casings and components.

Aside from the benefits it brings to weapon component manufacturing, deep-drawn stamping also produces parts integral to military vehicles including automobiles, airplanes, and aquatic vehicles. Some examples of these abilities include:

  • Exhaust mufflers
  • Engine and body mounts
  • Jounce bumpers


The aerospace industry relies heavily on deep-drawn stamping to manufacture high-precision subcomponents for planes that can withstand the extreme pressure fluctuations and adverse environmental conditions that aircraft regularly encounter. Deep-drawn stamping can work with many of the lightweight metals crucial to aerospace manufacturing, particularly aluminum. Using this technique, aerospace manufacturers build everything from motor and seat components to equipment casings and enclosures.

Consumer Goods

Cheaper Than China

Thanks to the range of shapes accommodated by deep-drawn stamping, there is a correspondingly large number of consumer goods that can be fabricated using the technique. Common home receptacles and tools, including cans, pots, and pans, can be made efficiently and cost effectively through deep drawing. Other possibilities include:

  • Home and garden décor
  • Storage or food and beverage containers
  • Trash cans
  • Furniture Subcomponents


Some of the most critical electrical components are produced via deep-drawn stamping, including batteries and solenoids. Larger components such as enclosures for generators are also viable candidates for deep-drawn production, and this process is used to build many prevalent components in electric substations as well.

Manor Tool’s Deep-Drawn Stamping Capabilities

Virtually every industry in today’s manufacturing climate relies on deep-drawn stamping because of its versatile ability to produce a wide range of precision components at high volumes. At Manor Tool, we’re experts in providing customizable deep-drawn stamping solutions for every industrial sector.

No matter your project’s specific manufacturing requirements, we at Manor Tool are eager to help you find an optimal stamping solution. For more information about our offerings, or to inquire about our ability to match your expectations, feel free to contact us or request a quote today.

Contact Us

Manor Tool: 60 Years in Metal Stamping Excellence

After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1945, Lee Simeone, like so many other young men, found work in America’s booming industrial sector. At the time, the United States was undergoing exponential economic growth as it operated under the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. Simeone found work making tools and dies, rising through the ranks of local plants in the Chicago area until, in 1959, he decided to found his own company.

Thus, the Manor Tool & Manufacturing Company was born. Simeone made a $9,000 down payment on a facility in Schiller Park, IL, from which our company grew into the expansive metal stamping, fabricating, and part assembly powerhouse it is today.

After leading the company for 36 years, Lee Simeone went into semiretirement in 1995. He promoted his son, Thomas Simeone, and son-in-law, Ken Galeno, to take on the mantles of president and vice president, respectively. Under the leadership of Simeone and Galeno, Manor Tool has grown to a 32-press facility, offering a full range of services including:

  • Design and engineering
  • Tool and die fabrication
  • Metal stamping
  • Deep-draw stamping
  • Custom tooling and fabrication
  • Secondary machining and finishing services


Company History and Accomplishments

Since 2000, we’ve upgraded our production department to include a 400-ton stamping press, a 330-ton Servo press, and an automated robotic production cell to complement our 32 stamping presses. But one thing that’s never changed is our proud tradition as an independent, family-owned company.

For this reason, we’ve spent the last number of years investing in our employees, putting future technology, equipment, and leadership directly into the hands of the people who have helped us come so far. We’ve also spent the last 11 years expanding our footprint across Illinois, acquiring Vogel Tool in 2008 and creating CLL Engineering in 2011 to produce tube fabricating tools and gasket dies, respectively.

Manor Tool also seeks to cement its place as a community resource to both the manufacturing world and to our neighbors in Illinois. Many of our employees count themselves as members of the Technology and Manufacturing Association, which is one of the largest associations of its type with accomplishments dating back to 1925. We also partner with local high schools and community colleges to sponsor shop classes and other training programs for the next generation of manufacturers.

Preparing For the Next 60 Years of Success

We at Manor Tool and Manufacturing are proud of our achievements in the metal stamping industry from the last 60 years, and we seek to build on these successes so that we could provide customers with innovating metal stamping solutions far into the future.

If you would like to learn about our offerings at any of our divisions, contact us and request a free quote today.


Why ISO 9001:2015 Certification Is So Important in the Metal Stamping Industry

To ensure we provide only the highest-quality metal stamped products to our customers, Manor Tool & Manufacturing Co. is now ISO 9001:2015 certified in the following areas:

  • Manufacture of Precision Metal Stampings
  • Deep Drawn Stampings
  • Machined Components and Assemblies for Various Industries
  • Design and Construction of Tooling

manor tool iso 9001:2015 quality assurance manager

Manor’s pledge to industry-leading quality begins even before the work does. Our engineers and quality inspectors work closely with our tooling and development experts to guarantee excellence from the start. We closely monitor every step of the manufacturing process to ensure that products not only meet but exceed the most stringent standards. We’re constantly striving to improve processes, keeping customers’ satisfaction at the forefront of everything we do. Earning the prestigious ISO 9001:2015 certification is just another way to show our commitment to superior quality.

“Achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification for Manor Tool was a team effort, and the process went smoothly thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. I worked together with all of our different departments, including sales, purchasing, production, inspection, and tool room in order to update our procedures to incorporate risk assessments. By continuously assessing the risk of taking on a large project and the demand associated with that, we can continue to help our customers meet their goals,” said Lucy Lopez, quality assurance manager for Manor Tool.


Download a copy of our ISO 9001:2015 certification.


Understanding the ISO 9000 Family of Certifications

The ISO 9000 family of certifications was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), laying out the basic principles of quality management systems. Put simply, this family of certifications provides critical tools and guidance for companies and organizations that want to ensure quality standards are being met.

The ISO 9000 series is based on seven fundamentals:

  1. Customer focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of people
  4. Process approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based decision making
  7. Relationship management

The layout is similar to the previous ISO 9001:2008 standard, following the “plan, do, check, act” method, but the new ISO 9001 certification places more emphasis on risk-based thinking. The general purpose of these quality objectives is to assess company adherence to the requirements, facilitate effective deployment of necessary initiatives, and improve quality management systems overall.

ISO 9001:2015 requires companies to document any other procedures required for compliance, and issue and communicate a documented quality policy, a quality management system scope, and key quality objectives. Organizations certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard have a three-year period to transition to ISO 9001:2015. That transition period ends in September 2018. A new version of ISO 9001 is released about every seven years.


Benefits of the ISO 9001:2015 Certification

ISO 9001:2015 certification is important for a number of reasons. Though the certification isn’t law, it’s the world’s most popular standard for quality management systems. Earning the certification reflects a high level of professionalism and shows that a company’s products and services are of a consistent quality.

ISO 9001:2015 certification also illustrates that a company’s offerings meet customers’ unique requirements. Plus, abiding by these guidelines can allow for streamlined business processes as they are continuously improved upon, saving money and time for both Manor and their customers.

Certificates such as ISO 9001: 2015 are invaluable tools in the industrial sphere, helping companies provide better quality and higher service while offering customers ultimate peace of mind. As Lopez said, “A customer will always want to choose a supplier that is proactive about achieving this certification and has the appropriate procedures in place.”


Learn More

Visit our Quality Assurance Department page to download a copy of our ISO 9001:2015 certification for your records.




Another Successful Year for Manor Tool’s Internship Program

For students, spring break often represents a time to kick back and relax with friends and family before the end of the school year as the busy summer months approach. But not all seniors use their time to unwind; some students keep going full speed ahead.

At Manor Tool, we’re doing our part to decrease the manufacturing skills gap by supporting these motivated high school students and helping them to enhance their knowledge outside of the classroom.

Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce

Each year, Manor Tool offers an internship program over spring break to honor our commitment to the Chicago manufacturing industry. We work with local high schools and trade associations in an effort to increase interest and knowledge about our industry and the many career opportunities it offers.
Our internship program has two main goals. First, we aim to give interested students the chance to learn more about manufacturing by allowing them to be a part of our team for a week. Second, we intend to create an interest in manufacturing to help build and grow tomorrow’s workforce.

We received numerous impressive resumes of students interested in joining our internship program. This year, two students stood out among the highly qualified candidates: Salvatore (Sal) Labarbera and Noah Guadalupe. These students were chosen based on their history of mechanical and engineering based classes and extracurricular activities. From looking at their resumes, we could tell they would be a great fit with the Manor Tool team.

Their week consisted of learning every facet of what Manor Tool does, starting with a tour of our facilities to learn how to operate a punch press. Over the next few days, Sal and Noah learned about all the departments and how each one impacts Manor Tool, including: Engineering and Design, Sales, Customer Service, Accounts Payable, and Ownership. We gave them a glimpse into the many departments and team members it takes to offer high quality stamping, machining, designing, and engineering services.

Looking Forward

As the need for qualified engineering and machining employees greatly increases, our team at Manor Tool hopes to help decrease the manufacturing skills gap by expanding our role to include more education and opportunities to prospective engineering students.

We enjoyed our week getting to know Sal and Noah, and we look forward to welcoming more interested students to our internship program in the future.

Progressive Die Stamping: Then and Now

Metal components are used in a huge range of day-to-day applications, from smartphones and computers to cars and heavy machinery. Tools, equipment, appliances — and, more broadly speaking, our homes and workplaces — all depend on metal parts.

The emergence of metalworking was a pivotal step in the advancement of modern industry, and the field continues to break new boundaries every day. Our increasingly lightweight and responsive digital technologies, for instance, depend on various precision metal parts.


Progressive Die Stamping 101

Metal stamping machines are used to turn raw sheet metal into finished, three-dimensional parts. Allowing for the production of reliably strong, precise, quick-to-produce, durable, and efficient components, this versatile process is becoming more and more common in today’s manufacturing world. Favored for its overall efficiency and dependability, stamping can be used to create a huge range of metal components.

Progressive die stamping takes basic metal stamping technology to a highly detailed level, utilizing multiple work processes to perform different operations on a single part. This type of operation reduces the labor quotient to a negligible amount. Strip or sheet stock is unrolled from a coil and fed through the required manufacturing steps — such as forming, drawing, embossing, notching, punching, cutting, and piercing — resulting in a complex finished part. The high efficiency of this tooling process allows for cost-effective, large runs with very precise tolerances.


The Metal Stamping Tradition

Modern punches and dies first appeared in a machining guide in 15th-century Germany; during this time, they were used by locksmiths for hinge manufacturing. As technology marched forward, “successive gang cutting” and “follow-on” tooling innovations led to the first progressive stamping die operation, at the dawn of the 20th century.

These initial operations were primarily done in-house; electric motor manufacturers and machinists used the progressive stamping process to create components in high quantities in order to meet the ever-growing demand.

In the 1950s, Michigan saw the birth of what we now recognize as the first progressive die shop. During this time, engineer Ed Stouten founded the Capitol Engineering Co. to alleviate the shortcoming of the single-hit die manufacturing industry. Within 30 years, Stouten had developed the official manual for progressive die manufacturing, which would come to be referenced by designers, engineers, and managers alike. Stouten also began traveling the country giving educational seminars on the process — changing the face of metalworking forever.


Metal Stamping and Modern Industry

Sheet metal is used to create parts of all sizes and styles for a wide range of industries, and its versatility continues to expand. State-of-the-art progressive metal stamping machines are used across a huge range of fields and applications, including:

  • Home and specialty appliances
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Automotive, construction, and heavy equipment
  • Computer sciences, technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Dentistry, medicine, and medical devices
  • Electrical, sound, and communications equipment
  • Military and defense
  • Manufacturing and industrial facilities
  • Sporting goods and recreation


Progressive Die Stamping Services From Manor Tool

At Manor Tool, we’re proud to carry on the metalworking tradition with highly specialized, adaptable, and extremely precise services for customers across diverse industries. We’re committed to constant improvement and innovation in everything we do, and fully embrace the progressive die stamping process to help provide seamless, quality-controlled transitions when projects evolve from short-run tests to high-volume production. We can work with a range of materials — including aluminum, stainless steel, copper, nickel, and brass — in thicknesses of 0.005 inch to 0.500 inch.

In addition to progressive die stamping, we also offer deep drawn stamping capabilities, as well as custom tooling and fabrication services, manufacturing design and engineering services, and various secondary services. To learn more about our advanced stamping press capabilities or discuss your specific needs with an expert, request a quote today.

New call-to-action

Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts – The Mental

In part one, of this two-part blog series, we began to explore the different ways that manufacturers can cut costs on their metal stamping projects.


The last post focused on the physical changes that can be made to projects which, when implemented properly, can have a positive effect on your profit margins.

There are additional ways that money can be saved on your stamping projects, beyond changing physical things like the materials used for the part and the tooling used to create it.

In this post, we’ll explore the “mental” and engineering aspects that can lend themselves to a cheaper (and often times more effective) metal stamped part. 

Project Management

Whether you are an engineer or a procurement manager, “project management” is likely not the first item on your priority list when choosing a service provider.  Costs, experience, and expected (promised) timelines are usually the determining factors in your final decision. In reality though, it’s the company’s project management structure and the project managers themselves that directly affect those factors and the ultimate success of your project.

If your service provider cannot immediately lay out who your points of contacts are, and who will be running each step of your project’s timeline, you should reconsider your partnership with this provider.  It needs to be guaranteed that you will have a clear and open means of communication throughout the project, so that if and when changes need to be made (design, materials, delivery, etc.) they can be handled quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, cheaply. Without that line of communication, you run the risk of having to manage the project from afar – costing you both time and money in the long run.

Project management can make or break your metal stamping project. Excellent project management will ensure that every aspect of your project runs smoothly and efficiently, and in a world where time is quite literally money, one cannot afford to run into missed deadlines or incorrectly run parts due to poor project management.

Design Review

When bringing a project to a metal stamper, it’s important to know that the staff is properly equipped (and prepared) to do a design review of your part before accepting the job and bringing it to production.

Design reviews are typically done by the management team and head engineers, and are used to ensure:

  • That the part you require can actually be completed by the machinery on-hand.
  • That your part design is as efficient as possible.
  • That all Tolerances, Dimensions and Radi are suitable for a Metal Stamped Production.

The design reviews provide you with the opportunity to get feedback from individuals that are seeing the project for the first time. The fresh perspective can often lead to suggestions or changes to a part design that can lead to cost savings during part production and an overall better part.

Learn More

For even more ideas on how to save money on your metal stamping projects, download our full resource below:


Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts – The Physical

In the realm of manufacturing, as with any business venture, keeping costs low is always a top priority for any project. When clients come to us with prints or parts, one of the major concerns that they have is whether or not they are getting the most cost effective outcome.

In this two-part blog series, “Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts”, we’ll cover some of the major ways that money can be saved on metal stamping projects. For the first installment, we’ll cover some of the physical changes you can make to bring costs down.


metal stamping image-1.png

The metal chosen for your stamping project plays a considerable role in the overall costs. It is possible that the material you are planning to use (or have been using) may not be the most cost-effective metal for your part.

It is important to interface with your metal stamping provider to review the potential material options (or alternatives) for the project. Each metal type offers different advantages in terms of formability, machinability, and tensile strength; your stamping provider should be able to determine the pro/cons of each type for your particular project, and present the most economical option.

Some metals, such as aluminum or magnesium, have a tendency to carry higher upfront costs. But they can prove to be the more cost effective option when considering the longevity of your parts.  In other scenarios, the cheaper metal may be the best solution; it all depends on the project requirements.

One of the most common swaps that we see are swaps within the steel family. Manor Tool has often been able to introduce High-Strength, Low-Alloy steel into a job due to the fact that it possesses high corrosion resistance and similar material properties to spring steel, while being offered at lower cost.

When bringing your print to your metal stamping provider, make sure to note:

  • Any changes in part requirements
  • Any areas that are not set in stone, to allow for potential design modifications.


Another aspect to consider when working with your metal stamping provider is the tooling requirements of your part. Small changes to your tooling can have a huge impact on both costs and production time.

Manor Tool encourages you to find a stamper that has the capability to provide a finite element analysis. A major portion of the finite element analysis is the determination of whether or not different tooling or additional tooling would make a significant impact on your overall part costs down the line.

In a realm where time is money, the Finite Element Analysis also helps you save money by reducing the timeline of your tooling design cycle. The virtual design simulations can be run in a few hours, meaning you are freed from the machine shop/manufacturing schedules that hard-copy tests are tied to.


It’s important to keep an eye on the increase of production volume. As production of your metal stamped parts increases, there may be a time where the job transitions from being a “low volume” or “short run” job to being a “high volume” production.   Having a high volume production run opens up the opportunity to revisit your original prototype, and rework the design for cost saving opportinities.

It’s hugely important to find a metal stamping provider that has the capability to take a job from prototype to production, as they will inherently have the ability to help reduce your costs in-house.  As an example, Manor Tool has the internal ability to build hard tooling/progressive dies. As quantities increase from the short run (low volume) process, those progressive dies can bring down the piece-part price significantly, with the investment in a nominal hard tooling cost. 

Be sure to check back soon for the second installment of “Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts”. The next blog will focus on some of “The Mental” adjustments you can make to save money on your parts.

Learn More

In the meantime, please feel free to download our full resource on your money saving options:


Download Your Ebook Now

Kaizen Events for Process Improvement in Manufacturing

The global business environment for manufacturers has never been more competitive. As the axiom goes, a company’s performance relative to its rivals is either getting better or its getting worse — it never stays the same. However, while manufacturing executives are aware that they need to constantly improve their firm’s processes, actually quantifying that improvement is difficult, and figuring out a way to systematically improve company performance on a continuous basis is even more so.

how to use kaizen

In the late 1980s, several multi-national manufacturing corporations trying to identify a method to continuously improve company processes came up with the “Kaizen Event.” A regularly scheduled gathering of employees from all areas of a firm, Kaizen Events are designed to focus that collective experience on any number of individual challenges.

At Manor, Kaizen events are cohesively linked with our safety program, and we’ve learned how to use them to target improvements in safety and efficiency in a wide variety of company environments. With a focused application, we believe Kaizen Events have the potential to benefit not only manufacturing firms, but also firms in banking, government, healthcare and many other industries.

Kaizen Events can be powerful tools to make improvement a continuous and structured effort. What follows is a brief introduction to Kaizen Events and how Manor has incorporated the concept into our ongoing operations. We hope you’ll find it a helpful introduction to implementing Kaizen Events that can be easily tailored to your business.

How to Use Kaizen Events to Optimize Manufacturing

What is a “Kaizen Event” Exactly?

“Kaizen” is a Japanese term meaning “improvement” or “improving one’s self for the benefit of the whole.” The concept grew out of a wider movement to tackle the critical but elusive task of continuously improving manufacturing processes — this as opposed to just doing things as they’ve always been done and only introducing occasional improvements piecemeal without an overarching plan. But how do you create a set of protocols that allow you to apply an actionable framework to that improvement? How do you make it not only efficient, but enforce a schedule on it and make it reproducible?

Motorola spearheaded the effort to systematically address these challenges with the so-called “Six Sigma” approach. The term is borrowed from manufacturing — a “sigma rating” indicates the percentage of products produced that are free from defects. A “six sigma” process is one in which more than 99.99% of products are defect free.

Kaizen Events are part of this approach to reduce inefficiencies and increase the quality not only of products, but also the processes that create them. In theory, the concept behind Kaizen Events is simple:

  • During a period of 3-5 days, employees from a cross section of departments meet in one place to discuss the process at hand. The participants are all stakeholders in that process, and are usually derived from all areas of the company, from management to administration. The idea is to bring the greatest breadth and depth of knowledge and experience into the discussion.
  • The group observes the process. This can either be in the form of a demonstration or, if it’s more practical, the creation of flowchart of the steps involved.
  • Once the participants understand the process, they make suggestions to improve it.
  • Finally, the group discusses options, during which suggestions are either implemented or discarded, until all participants can get behind the new approach.

The primary attributes of Kaizen Events are their efficiency and their focus. They gather the decision-makers and the people actually involved in the process in one place at one time. A particular strength of Kaizen Events is that they get everyone’s buy-in so that thoughtful, effective solutions can be implemented quickly. Companies can make rapid improvements, particularly with a process that isn’t running particularly efficiently.

How Manor Implements Kaizen Events

Typically, a Manor general manager will spearhead a Kaizen Event, along with a team leader. Also included will be 4-5 employees from virtually any department (punch press, tool room, sales, administration, etc.) to provide a diverse and unbiased observation group. The team assembles in the area where the process to be evaluated takes place, such as a machine operation or particular manufacturing process. However, these events don’t just consider manufacturing or machine processes. They can extend to all aspects of the company, including shipping and receiving, inventory management, engineering, and sales.

The team observes the full process. On the manufacturing side, Kaizen events are most often concentrated on safety and efficiency. Some things that team members might consider:

  • Do they notice something unusual that the operator who works in that area every day might have long since gotten used to?
  • Is the operator performing tasks that appear to be unsafe, and could they be done in a safer way?
  • Is the movement of the operator efficient and ergonomic, i.e., is there too much bending and lifting involved?
  • Are the parts or tools needed for the process inefficiently located?

After observing the process, the team meets to discuss each group member’s observations and decide on any action items that could be implemented. The current process is documented, issues or problems are defined, and possible changes are discussed. Suggestions may encompass changes in a work area to improve ergonomics, safety, efficiency, work flow, etc. Any approved changes are implemented, and a follow up of the process is scheduled to evaluate the results.

Examples of Kaizen Event Success Stories at Manor

Kaizen Events sound good in theory, but the proof of their effectiveness is in the improvements Manor has enjoyed since implementing them. Here are just a few examples:

Increasing Productivity:

A customer part required a soft edge around their product. After the part was made, the operator would deburr the edge using a wire wheel. The process was done by hand, always pushing the part upward on the wheel, and it was noted that productivity dropped off at end of day due to operator fatigue. This same part also required countersinking, which was being done by another operator, and again, productivity decreased as the day wore on. After the Kaizen Event took place, the cell on the production floor was redesigned to accommodate several changes to the process:

  • After the part came off the punch press, the parts were placed on a flat steel skid, two on each skid.
  • The skid then was slid (not picked up and carried) over to a drill press in same cell where the part was fanned with a fanning magnet, and both parts were countersunk at the same time.
  • Following countersinking, the edges of the parts were deburred using a wire wheel.
  • Parts would then be boxed and packaged within the cell and ready for shipping.

As a result of the Kaizen Event, this process now utilized one operator instead of two, provided a break between the wire wheel process to reduce fatigue, all resulting in heightened productivity and a safer process.

Enhancing Ergonomics:

  • It was observed that operators were often bending over and down to retrieve parts from boxes in their cells. A Kaizen Event suggested elevating boxes to a height that did not require repeated bending and lifting.
  • Wheels were added to an aluminum riser that carried parts from process to process or machine to machine, eliminating the bending, lifting, and carrying of items to different stations.
  • Machine presses or work cells requiring similar processes or parts/tooling were rearranged to be adjacent rather than constantly moving items from place to place.

Workspace Organizational Improvements:

In some work areas, Kaizen Events led to the application of a “5S” approach — another work area organizing system with Japanese origins. Loosely translated, the 5S methodology involves Sorting, Systemization, Shining (maintaining a clean, streamlined work area), Standardizing and Sustainability. These principles provided a blueprint for getting all work areas operating as efficiently and distraction-free as possible.

In our experience, Kaizen Events have led to changes that not only improved safety, but also enhanced productivity and even increased revenue.

Barriers to Implementing Kaizen Events

Although Kaizen Events have proven their ability to increase efficiency, boost productivity and provide a program that enables continuous improvement of production processes, many companies are still reluctant to implement them. One primary reason is the perception that such events take employees away from their “main jobs” for up to five days at a time. While this concern is understandable, we’ve found it to be a short-sighted view. In fact, in our experience, proper application of Kaizen Events has led to better performance in employees “main jobs” allowing them to place more focus on quality rather then process. The events help employees identify ways to spend the majority of time in their primary roles more efficiently, rather than having to frequently “put out fires” and attempt to manage systemic problems with quick fixes over and over again.

Another potential drawback is that companies don’t fully embrace the concept. Rather than committing a meaningful number of people for a meaningful period of time, some firms will instead commit a couple of people for an insufficient amount of time. The result is fewer suggestions for improvement, and a perception on the part of employees that decision makers view the effort as unimportant.

And of course, Kaizen Events are not a cure all. There are some instances when another approach is preferable. For instance, if a resolving a problem requires evaluating sets of data over an extended period of time — statistical analysis or variations in long-term experimental results, for example — a carefully selected team of experts that meets regularly will likely be a better choice than a one-time meeting of disparate individuals. Kaizen Events are much better suited to regularly reevaluating existing methods and processes. After all, continuous improvement is the point.

Creating an Effective Kaizen Event

To be effective, Kaizen Events must be championed by management and enjoy the full participation of a variety of employees. During the course of the event, employees on Kaizen Event teams must:

  1. Undergo a brief training period that will allow them to grasp the process more fully
  2. Go into the event with precisely defined goals, outlined in steps 3-5
  3. Acquire a full understanding of the current approach to the process
  4. Be encouraged to think “outside the box”
  5. Develop a plan to follow up on improvements and assess their effectiveness

Of all the steps listed above, #4 is perhaps the most critical and the toughest to establish. Employees must believe that any ideas they may come up with to address problems — even if those ideas may seem unconventional — are important and valued. They must also be assured that any improvements they suggest won’t put them or other employees out of a job. Any successes should be highlighted and shared within the company so that everyone can appreciate and understand the value of Kaizen Events — not only those that have been held, but those in which employees may be asked to participate in the future.

Most importantly, effective Kaizen Events require and foster respect. They show that each area of a company has something important to contribute, that each person in the company is an important part of the team, and that each individual is willing and able to improve the experience of everyone else who works there.

The Real Power of Kaizen Events: Your People

Kaizen Events offer companies several benefits, not the least of which is a time-tested, proven method to address a difficult problem: how to continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s ongoing operation. But we don’t regard that as their chief benefit. At Manor, we’ve always believed the real strength of our company is the people who work here. Most have been with us for more than a decade, and in that time they’ve accrued vast amounts of knowledge, experience and problem-solving skill — qualities that go far beyond the limited concept of “value.” The real power of Kaizen Events is their ability to help us tap into that knowledge and experience in ways that benefit the company as a whole.

It’s a power that we believe any company, using the power of Kaizen Events, can tap into.

How to Use Kaizen Events to Optimize Manufacturing

3 Benefits of Using Advanced Servo Technology

Thirty years ago, Manor Tool’s second-generation owner and president, Tom Simeone, was faced with a life-altering decision. A recent engineering graduate from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, he had two potential paths ahead of him. One was to further his education, and pursue a Doctorate degree at the University of Illinois. The second was to join his father and Ken Galerno at Manor Tool – the family business his father founded in 1959.

Read More