Situation: After a changeover on one of my lines, the part was having incomplete ball separation issues at the caging station. Incomplete separation prevents the bearing cage from coming down and causing a kickout. After 3 kickouts the machine stops, causing downtime, as the operator has to keep a track of other parts of the line. The operators had this problem whenever they ran this part size but that month it was very high.
Task: Usually after the changeover the operators troubleshoot the machine. But because of the high quantity of kickouts, I was tasked with solving the issue and get the line up and running
Action: After multiple adjustments on the machine I was still unable to get the complete ball separation. I took a slow motion video off the process and was able to identify the root cause. So I made a small modification to the exiting design of the ball spacing head and 3D printed it.
Result: The 3 D printed design worked wonder and putting the modified design of the ball spacing head we reduced the line downtime for that part number by 70% Downtime reduction and completely eliminated the kickouts which. Also, the parts that were kickouts had to be re fed in the machine eating into the productivity of the line. Check photo for result.