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Kitting in a high variation assembly line: a case study at Caterpillar BCP-E
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A growing number of product variants, which is reality for many assembling and manufacturing companies, often result in more part numbers. These part numbers need to be delivered to the assembly process. Delivering them in the traditional way with continuous supply and lineside stores becomes a problem since the increasing number of parts demands an increase in lineside storage space. An increase in lineside storage space and part numbers creates longer operator walking and searching times at the assembly line. One way to decrease the lineside storage space and operator walking and searching times is to deliver parts in kits. In manufacturing systems, the practice of delivering components and subassemblies to the shop floor in predetermined quantities that are placed together in specific containers is generally known as “kitting”. Theory explains a number of benefits and limitations with kitting, however most of the theory is found from research in parallelised assembly systems and assembly with small parts. It is therefore of great interest to investigate if these theories also apply to the situation at Caterpillar BCP-E, Leicester (CAT), with assembly lines with high end product variation. Since most assembly plants are turning to the theories of Lean production it is also of interest to see if kitting is applicable in Lean environments. The purpose of this study is to analyse the business case and feasibility for CAT to implement a kitting process for delivery of material to lineside Point of Use (POU). To fulfil the purpose a case study at the engine subassembly area at CAT has been made. Within the case study a quantitative analysis in the form of a mathematical model has been performed. The results of the mathematical model has been analysed in a qualitative way to form the final results and conclusions. The study shows that kitting can be beneficial in high variation assembly lines. Kitting provides the opportunity to decrease lineside storage, lineside inventory value, lineside replenishments and operator walking times. However kitting increases the number of part handlings, space for kitting and time for kitting. Kitting also provide opportunities of a more intangible nature such as the possibility of increasing shop floor control, end product quality and ease of educating new personnel. The results show that the benefits of a kitting process is very much dependant on the needs of the specific factory. Performing some kind of multi criteria decision making process before implementing a kitting process to find out these specific needs is therefore of importance. In this study an Analytical Hierarchy Process was performed to find out the needs of CAT. The results show no indication that kitting does not coincide with Lean theories. On the contrary kitting is a way to move waste from one of the most common bottlenecks, the assembly line. In order to not just move the problem, but to facilitate or eliminate it, it is of greatest importance to design the kitting process in an efficient way, both for the logistic and operation functions. Results on how CAT should design their kitting process, if implementing one, are given in this report. The suggestion for CAT is to implement a kitting pilot at the engine subassembly area to verify the results of this research. When doing this it is suggested that all parts that can be lifted by hand should be included in the kit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, logistics, logistik, kitting, materials feeding, materialtillförsel, parallelised assembly systems
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-45334ISRN: LTU-EX--08/002--SELocal ID: 307569c0-ba32-4309-93e1-38f7421d6953OAI: diva2:1018623
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Industrial and Management Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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