General Kitting is a natural, value-added process that is a part of many sorting and order fulfillment centers. In a production kitting operation, individually separate but related items are grouped, packaged, and supplied together as one unit. Kitting often includes processes such as invoicing, packing, sealing and labeling.

The approach taken in the kitting process improvement project described in this paper can be summarized as follows-eliminate waste related to machine downtime caused by invalid kitting and kitting done right the first time.

Eliminate Waste in Kitting: The priority is to eliminate waste on the assembly line by making sure machine downtime due to kitting problems does not happen. Next is to eliminate waste and make the kitting process as lean as possible. This Lean Kitting project was implemented at a large electronics contract manufacturer's site. The project involved an assembly line that included a new Fuji NXT pick-and-place line. The NXT machine is based on a new concept of modular, scalable, and reconfigurable pick and place machines. This NXT machine had 10 modules. Thus, the same part number may occur on different modules as a result of placement sequence optimization and load balancing. In consultation with the plant management, the following goals were set:

● Reduce kitting cycle time
● Reduce manpower
● Reduce number of partial material packages returned to stockroom
● Eliminate the issue of insufficient quantity of material packages (reels) for parts split between different modules on NXT machine.

Proper Kitting Execution: Eliminate the possibility of wrong components being kitted by implementing electrical component test and component verification Kit quantities per part number calculated by the ERP system do not take into account that a part could be split between a number of modules during machine optimization. For example, if the kit requirement for a part that is split between two modules on a machine is 4500, the stockroom may find a reel with 5000 parts and kit it for that part, which will cover the Bill of Material (BOM) quantity plus estimated attrition. The single reel will be sent to offline
setup and it will need to be split, or another reel ordered, which delays offline and adds manpower related costs. Another case is when the stockroom does kit two reels, with quantities of 4000 and 1000. Let us assume that the quantity placed from the first module is 2800 and from second module is 1700. The offline setup personnel will have two reels to prepare for the run and production can be started, but there is not enough quantity on the second reel and the machine will stop until a new reel is provided, adding to the machine downtime. In this project, all activities that lead to delivering the
kit to the assembly line, were considered to be part of kitting, including:

● Pulling enough quantity to place each part (including attrition)
● Determining which reel will be used first
● Verification of component electrical characteristics.
● Verification of component feeder type, feeder rotation, and height verification.
● Lead free compliance,
● Setup verification: Even though kitting can also include delivering the tooling kit to the line, it was considered out of the scope of this project.

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