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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Value Stream Analysis Improves Processes, Saves Money

Feb 23, 2012

An example Pareto chart from a value stream analysis shows the potential benefit of implementing VSA findings. (AFRL Graphic)

Engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory have stimulated industrial base investments in infrastructure and technology by leveraging the value stream analysis (VSA) process to identify significant process improvement opportunities.

As a result, General Electric Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce, together with some of their suppliers, invested in process improvements to produce an expected $34 million cost avoidance for current and future products. Because many of the manufacturing technologies are applicable to advanced turbine engine performance improvements, the potential for an additional $126 million cost avoidance for current projects exists.

For the last five years, AFRL's Manufacturing Technology Division (AFRL/RXM), in cooperation with General Dynamics Information Technology and TechSolve, Inc., has been conducting VSAs within the advanced turbine engine industrial base. Each VSA generated a list of potential process improvements, projected costs, and assessed the risks associated with achieving the anticipated benefits.

AFRL/RXM used the data from these VSAs to develop successful ManTech programs, including a program for the advanced machining of CMCs. This program yielded increases in material removal rates and a reduction in cutting tool costs by two orders of magnitude. Additionally, the 3D airfoil inspection process reduced the dimensional inspection of complex shapes from 60 minutes down to 3 minutes.

Industry has used this data to pursue lower risk process improvements. These process improvements have been implemented and are anticipated to yield benefits of $27 million. Process improvements that have been partially implemented through industry investment are anticipated to yield an additional $7 million. When implemented, processes that are still maturing could provide an additional $126 million in benefits. For industry, the return on investment is about 15 to 1 and it is even greater for the Air Force, at 28 to 1.

Source: Air Force Office of Scientific Research


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