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Monday, April 18, 2011

4 Essential Green Gadgets for Your Lean Kaizen

Green and Lean should be synergistic not just additive or complementary concepts. The integrated whole of both methodologies is often greater than the sum of the impacts from each approach. The tools in the toolkit for Green and Lean improvements are one in the same. They include techniques like value stream mapping, workplace organization and standardization with 6S, spaghetti chart, waste walk or treasure hunt, kaizen activities, and standardized checklists. As in Lean these tools are used to visualize and identify the wastes in our processes so we can eliminate or reduce them.

There are four tools or gadgets that will make finding your green wastes easier.

1. Kill-A-Watt Device

This is used to determine the electrical cost of a machine.  Simply connect a machine with a plug to the Kill-A-Watt, and it will assess how efficient they really are. You can calculate your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, even an entire year.  As you turn off equipment or replace order equipment you can calculate the cost savings.

2. Infrared Digital Thermometer 

Infrared digital thermometers are a quick, simple and effective way of obtaining temperature information. The gadget measures temperature without having to come into contact with the target.  You can use it to detect is a motor is running efficiently by it's temperature.  If it is too hot then it is over working and consuming more energy and will likely fail early.  These devices can also be used to find hot and cold spots in your facility that may need some attention to reduce your heating and cooling bills.

3. Ultrasonic Detector 

An ultrasonic detector can measure the sound wave of tiny noises, like that of air leaking from a pipe. They can be used for almost any plant application from simple leak inspection to ultrasound assisted lubrication programs.  It can be very effective in detecting wearing bearings before they fail savings your equipment and process.  One of the reasons Ultrasound technology has become widely used is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to increase your production value, asset availability, and overall reliability.

4. Light Meter

A light meter is a device used to measure the amount of light.  Light meters can be used to both measure the amount of light in a room and also measure how much energy a light bulb uses. Many areas in your building many be over-lighted, and measuring the excess illumination allows you to reduce lighting or use energy efficient light bulbs.

These gadgets are relatively inexpensive.  You can probably outfit yourself with all of these for about $1000.  There are a number of other gadgets that can be helpful in the energy reduction programs like infrared camera, voltmeter, ammeter, airflow measuring device, and vibration analysis equipment for example.  But these can be more expensive.  The basic tools with little training will allow you measure and make improvements immediately.  Get started today on Lean and Green improvements.

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