Holden bottleneck indicator system wins engineering award

A tool developed to identify bottlenecks in manufacturing operations at Holden in Victoria has won the 2011 Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia Bronze Automotive Engineering Excellence Award.

Bottleneck Indicator Tool (BIT) software system for optimising manufacturing, was developed by GM Holden’s Virtual Manufacturing Engineering Manager Gregory Linke.

[Pictured alongside: Gregory Linke (L) collects the Bronze SAE-A Award for his Bottleneck Indicator Tool from Society President Patrick Ross.]

The manufacturing tool builds on the known "Theory of Constraints" concept to identify bottlenecks in complex manufacturing processes.

The BIT algorithm and processing methodology is based on real time computer analysis of the work flow through the system’s work station buffer areas (where one process is completed and another begins).

The BIT requires only easily validated buffer contents data, which makes data acquisition and calibration readily achievable. The benefits of BIT are far reaching, including accuracy, ease of calibration, low deployment cost and negligible ongoing maintenance.

The BIT package identifies "hidden" bottlenecks missed by other systems and includes a tool box of reports that deliver high levels of detail in a user friendly web browser visual format.

During the initial three month deployment at Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia Vehicle Assembly Plant, volume increased by 60 units a day. The BIT software has been identified as Best GM Practice and is being considered for global deployment.