Higher-ups at The Timken’s Co.’s Manchester, Conn., plant are leaving it to employees to find out what ails the power-transmission products firm—and to fix it.
The organization recently took home top honors in a “Find It-Fix It Challenge” sponsored by the workplace-improvement organization Humantech.
The winning idea: An employee figured out how to improve a process that formerly forced machinery operators to bend over and make repetitive motions—which was causing them physical pain.
The process, called deburring, is a finishing method for smoothing the rough edges of metal. The gear weighs more than 400 pounds, sits horizontally and is hard to reach, so operators had to bend over to use it and repeatedly lift it throughout the process to finish the job.
Following the advice of the employee, the company improved the process by creating a fixture to hold the gear in a vertical position and a roller system that allows for faster and easier adjustment. Mounting it on a portable, adjustable table allows operators to do the work more comfortably.
The firm recouped the cost of the improvement in four months by reducing delivery time.
Contact: Lorrie Paul Crum of The Timken Co., (330) 471-3514.