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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Simple Engineering Solutions with Karakuri Kaizen

Manufacturers across the nation are looking for faster, more efficient ways to streamline processes and production. While automation seems to be top of mind for most, it’s also an expensive investment that some may not be ready to take on. Luckily, there are other solutions you can implement to improve your manufacturing facility’s efficiency.

Karakuri kaizen, or karakuri, provides low-cost, simple, hands-free solutions to support manufacturers’ needs. Karakuri literally means a type of doll that moves with simple mechanics. In manufacturing, karakuri refers to simplified engineering for kaizen that improve your system. Karakuri is the use of mechanic gadgetry rather than electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic devices.

Core principles and benefits to implementing Karakuri include:

Easier maintenance. The maintenance of Karakuri is often much easier than other types of devices. When something goes wrong, workers have an easier time seeing what the problem is and typically can fix the issue themselves, rather than calling a mechanic, electrician, or other professional. Waiting for devices to be fixed can cause a delay in production; Karakuri helps reduce lost time.

Improved safety. Implementing Karakuri allows a process to improve without risking the safety of employees. Mechanical devices don’t pose as many hazards as electrical or hydraulic machines, resulting in less lost work days due to injuries. Karakuri can also help reduce human error within the production process.

Cost-effective materials. Mechanical systems typically are much cheaper than computerized systems. They also require less time to develop, don’t take as much energy to operate, and are built using less expensive materials.

Easy improvement for the long term. Because Karakuri is easier to maintain, workers are often able to take care of problems and improve the process themselves. This makes room for small changes that lead in the long term to continuous improvement.

Karakuri is all about supporting the operator through simplicity, so their job is easier and safer. So while you consider the benefits related to development, installation, maintenance, and versatility, understand that human efficiency, ergonomics, and safety are at the heart of karakuri.

A Karakuri system is a way of stimulating creativeness and craftsmanship, figuring out solutions together as a team. Karakuri Kaizen utilizes the knowledge present on-site. Employees are key in this, with their amazing sense of adaptability and ingenuity. Only humans know how to improve their work, how to invent different ways of working and figuring out answers to problems. The result is smart people building smart equipment, that are high in creativity and that later become a benchmark for the others.

Keep in mind that bright ideas emerge from smart people, and smart people emerge from kaizen. It is actually one of the major benefits, because they empower production workers. This is made possible by encouraging the use of individuals’ creativity to build their own improvement solutions with other team members from process departments. Karakuri Kaizen promote on-going “kaizen” improvements by workers who want to make their work go faster, smoother and smarter. This supports the idea that there is always a better way, a truly motivational team experience. When you think about it, it’s a virtuous cycle.

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