Toyota Sewing System
Textile Industry News Article Posted July 20, 2009

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In a modular system, processes are grouped into a module instead of being divided into their smallest components. As a rule, fewer numbers of multi-functional operators work on the machines which are arranged in a U-line. All the operators in the group are responsible for the quality of each item that are produced in the line. The system works when a problem of quality is reached; the operators in the group have to coordinate their quality work, which leads to an increase in quality. The modular system works on the principle of pull-type production systems, in which the job order comes from the last step to previous steps. Because of this, the amount of work in process is low, even working when no inventory is possible.

The modular system was first implemented at Toyota in 1978 as part of JIT, and was known in the 1980s in the West as the Toyota Sewing System. Monden gave this system a U-turn layout and claimed that the main advantage of that system was that the amount produced can easily be arranged by changing the number of operators working in the system.

In 1991, Wang & Ziemke simulated a system which was working on the motion principles based on the Toyota Sewing System. In this system, the following principle is stated: the items always move forward in the system, while the operators move forward with the item and then move backward for additional work. In the Toyota system, the operator moving backward for finding a work piece can interrupt the operator if he cannot find any work piece waiting to be sewn. Wang & Ziemke found that the system showed high performance, even though the operation times of each station varied considerably among each other. They also determined that after some time the operators formed their own work patterns. Schroer et al. constructed a simulation package which is suitable for use in clothing manufacturing companies. This package can simulate the system according to three principles of motion, which are the rabbit chase, the Toyota sewing system and the mixed manufacturing module. In the rabbit chase, the operator works on all machines sequentially. For the mixed manufacturing module, the researchers described the bundle and time limits which are the basis for the decision taken by the operator.

Source : FIBRES & TEXTILES in Eastern Europe July / September 2007, Vol. 15, No. 3 (62) : Istanbul Technical University Faculty of Textile Technologies and Design, Instanbul, Turkiye  By Fatma Kalaoğlu Canan Saricam.

The information in the above article is not the full research study.  This is only a small portion of the research.  You can view the full report at Analysis of Modular Manufacturing System in Clothing Industry by Using Simulation

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