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Work Cell Manufacturing: How it Works and the Benefits

We’re all looking to work smarter, not harder. In our industry, a popular way to do that is by embracing lean manufacturing. This concept seeks ways to eliminate waste, optimize processes, accelerate production, reduce costs, and quickly deliver products to market.

There are many strategies to lean manufacturing, but one that is increasing in popularity is work cell manufacturing. What does this entail, and is it right for your company? Read on to find out.

What is work cell manufacturing?

Work cell manufacturing (also known as cellular manufacturing) is where the resources – including labor, equipment, and raw materials – are consolidated in a single area for production. Workstations are strategically placed in sequential order, allowing the product to be efficiently built step by step. This approach eliminates wasted movement and minimizes assembly time. It also allows the same technician to oversee the entire production sequence. The continuous flow of work cell manufacturing improves efficiency, quality assurance, and more.

In contrast, traditional manufacturing methods involve separate workstations or departments based on equipment or processes. Here, a large batch of the same part is made at once, then sent to the next stage of the manufacturing process.

Benefits of outsourcing work cell manufacturing

In-house work cell manufacturing is great in theory, but it’s not always practical for OEMs based on existing infrastructure or the capital required to transition production methods. In this case, outsourcing work cell manufacturing can be very beneficial and cost-effective.

By working with your manufacturing partner, you can establish a work cell manufacturing process for your product. There are several benefits to this approach, including:

  • Complete production management – including material sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping
  • Work cells can be fractional – sharing equipment and shifts with other customers to reduce costs – or be dedicated centers for unique product builds.
  • Continue a legacy product without additional investment
  • Dedicate valuable personnel and production space to core manufacturing
  • Free up capacity for new product development

Work cell manufacturing in action.

At Tapecon, we have experience setting up cellular manufacturing for our customers in our headquarters in Buffalo, New York. Here’s just one example:

Recently, we had a client in for a tour of our production facility. The company was finalizing an acquisition and wasn’t sure how to handle the increased manufacturing demands. After learning more about Tapecon’s manufacturing capabilities, the customer quickly decided that outsourcing one of their work cells was the most effective and cost-efficient solution to their needs. Tapecon brought in some of the customer's equipment and employees and set up the workstations in our factory to manufacture their products. The customer was then able to save costs and increase manufacturing efficiency for their other core products.

Guide to Manufacturing Cells - Tapecon

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With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our manufacturing services.

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