SMED – Single Minute Exchange of Die

Lean Methods: SMED

Due to the increasing number of variants and the growing demands for flexibility, fast setup in production is the crucial factor in being able to produce even small batch sizes economically. The SMED-Method can contribute to this. SMED stands for Single Minute Exchange of Die and is a method that deals with optimising the setup times of processes. When applying the SMED method, the setup time is reduced by both organisational and technical measures. Translated meaningfully, SMED means as much as: "Fast changeover under 10 minutes".

Using SMED, significant performance increases are achieved on the production lines. In addition, it is possible to switch much more frequently between different goods on one and the same line. This increases the flexibility of production and reduces the stock levels upstream and downstream of the aggregate. SMED also achieves an immediate restart of production with good parts. Significantly, fewer or no start-up losses have to be accepted.

What is the setup time and how does the setup process work?

If a machine or a production location, i.e. individual lines or entire lines, are set up for a special processing operation and equipped with the required tools, the duration of this changeover is referred to as the setup time. The setup time thus comprises the time span between the production of one part and the production of another on the same machine.

As a rule, the setup process consists of the following four steps:

1. Setup preparation

  • Removal of the manufactured parts, deregistration of the old order
  • Registration of the new order, provision of all required materials, parts, fixtures and information

2. Changeover of tools

  • Removal of the previously required fixtures and tools
  • Assembly of the fixtures and tools required for the next order

3. Adjustment

  • Adjustment of tools and fixtures
  • Adjustment of process parameters (pressure, feed, etc.)

4. Test and readjustment

  • Production of test pieces
  • Measurement and evaluation of results
  • Correction of process parameters, retesting if necessary

Advantages of SMED

The SMED method combines the following advantages:

  • Reduction of batch sizes
  • Reduction of lead times
  • Reduction of inventories
  • Gain of capacities
  • Facilitating of set-up processes