Swagelok in Action: Poka-Yokes for Hose Installation
by Jeff Hopkins, on 12/13/16 9:00 AM
At Swagelok Northern California, our Assembly Solutions team is proud to manage every step of custom assembly — from initial design and development to installation and everyday operation. Whether it’s creating CAD drawings for new ideas or troubleshooting issues in existing systems, we help clients in a range of industries streamline and simplify their processes, thereby preventing delays and unnecessary expenditures.
Tackling Assembly Installation Issues
One of our clients, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the semiconductor industry, asked for our help with a recurring assembly installation problem.
The client’s system needed to serve both supply and return in a cooling media assembly. However, the supply and return hoses looked very similar, making for a confusing installation process. In fact, technicians were installing the components backwards. Clearly differentiated hoses were needed to prevent such errors and streamline the process.
Our expert Swagelok Assembly Solutions engineering team was able to provide a simple but effective solution: The hoses would be redesigned to serve as poka-yokes — a Japanese term for “mistake-proofing” or “inadvertent error prevention.”
A poka-yoke device is any supply chain mechanism that helps prevent common mistakes such as incorrect part production, improper system assembly, or erroneous tool use. It’s the first step in error-proofing a system, ensuring that the process, equipment, and tools in question are as efficient as possible.
Our Assembly Solutions team developed different end connections for the hoses. Because each hose now had a unique type of connection, it was physically impossible for the assembly installation technicians to reverse the supply and return components.
Ensuring Future Success
Thanks to the new end connections, backwards installation of the hoses was no longer possible. Not only did our Swagelok Assembly Solutions team restore functionality to the system, but we also provided a low-cost solution with readily available parts.
Whether creating new assemblies or troubleshooting existing systems, our experienced team of engineers has the expertise, global capabilities, and efficiency to deliver an ideal custom solution for your specific needs.
To see how our custom assembly solutions have helped other clients, download our new eBook, “10 Assembly Solutions Case Studies.”