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Success report on SMED

a Case Study

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Project developed with our associate FESTO Industrial Consulting

Reduction of the time utilized for the exchange of molds and preparation of the SACMI press in refractory bricks production.


Reference available in file


  • Time reduction for mold exchange operation and preparation in the press to increase productivity.
  • To implement a quick exchange system of molds (SMED) and sustain the results.
  • To improve the orderliness, cleanliness, standardization, and increase the safety in the workplace.

Description and Considerations

In the refractory brick production the main process is the pressing of ceramic material. This gives the product the characteristics of form and dimension. A great variety of models exists, which implies having multiple different molds for the production of those models.

The exchange of molds and preparation of presses has been an important factor in the readiness of the equipment, since it represents a very high cost reduction opportunity for the company.

As part of the strategic plan of the company improvement and due to market conditions, management marked as priority to increase their productivity in order to overcome the challenges and be prepared for new opportunities that are expected in the immediate future.

The team" Pioneers", comprised of 19 Production associates of the company, in coordination with Festo Industrial consulting, developed the project. This teamwork made possible to successfully implement the SMED System for quick exchanges that gives the company a drastic savings in downtimes caused by changeover and mold preparation directly impacting with an increment of productivity.


  • The downtime for mold exchange for the SACMI press decreased from 200 minutes to 53.4 minutes. That is over 70% reduction!
  • The increased availability of the equipment represents a potential monthly cost saving of approximately $64,985 USD.
  • An additional benefit of this project will be thereplication process improvements in most other hydraulic presses in the plant.
  • The increase in overhead costs for the company to implement this improvement was $0.00.
  • The change of mindset, the motivation, the new sense of ownership, and a new attitude of cooperation in all the associates are without a doubt some of the main benefits of this project.
  • Timely delivery of finished product. Faster response to customer changing needs.
  • The investment of the project was of $9,231 USD plus the time and labor of the participants.

As we have frequently said in our sites, SMED projects represent a very important source of savings that can be applied to keep the Continuous Improvement effort going.


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