Utilize Shadow Boards to Achieve Lean Manufacturing

Shadow Boards are visual methods of storing and organizing tools, parts and other items so that they are easy to identify and readily available at specific workplaces. Each shadow board consists of outlines or “shadows” in the shape of individual items to make it obvious where each item should be stored. Shadow Boards are always placed where the work is being performed. This ensures that the tools and equipment are close at hand which reduces wasted motion and saves time from having to track down needed tools.

In many industries, it is important that all tools are accounted for before leaving the work environment. FOD (Foreign Object Debris) control is a high priority for all aerospace and aviation industries. Foreign objects such as tools, hardware, and other maintenance items can cause significant damage to aircraft if the items become tangled in control cables, short out electrical connections or impede the motion of moving parts.

Shadow Boards come in many types. A common example of a shadow board is a large pegboard hung on a wall with the outline of the shapes of each tool that is stored on the board. Foam inserts in tool drawers where the tool shapes are cut into the foam are also a popular use for Shadow Boards.

Benefits of Shadow Boards

Shadow Boards create many benefits for an organization such as:

Tool Identification – The visual nature of Shadow Boards makes it easy for employees who use these tools to know exactly where they should be returned and to quickly identify tools that are missing.

Spatial Organization – Clearing away waste and organizing the most used tools and equipment in the workplace frees up space that can be used more effectively.

Tool Safety – Foam Shadow Boards surround the tools when they are not in use, ensuring that the tools are stored properly and are safe from damage.

Workplace Productivity – When workplaces are clean and organized, productivity increases, workplace accidents are reduced and a higher level of employee morale is created.

Customizable – A lot of specialized assembly and repair processes use unique tools and require custom-made Shadow Boards. Many mechanics can also be meticulous about their tools and will want their tool drawers designed their own way.

5S and Lean Manufacturing

Shadow Boards are useful tools to conform with 5S and Lean manufacturing methods.

5S is a methodology to organize an individual workplace or workstation to optimize productivity by keeping the workplace clean, uncluttered and organized. Lean manufacturing focuses on the elimination of all non-value-added activities and removing wasteful items or operations from the workplace or within a specific process.

The reliance on 5S and Lean manufacturing is expanding rapidly to streamline processes, reduce waste, and create competitive advantages for many diverse manufacturing and service businesses
across the world.

Shadow Boards help a workplace fulfill the 5S methodology by:

‘Sorting’ out the items that are required in a workstation and removing the items that are no longer needed.

‘Straightening’ and organizing the items so that the workflow is efficient.

‘Shining’ and keeping the workstation clean to easily identify problems or missing items.

‘Standardizing’ the workstation by using colors or other labeling to provide consistency throughout all areas.

‘Sustaining’ the workstation by the development of procedures and actions that maintain the organization of the workstation over the long term.

OSAAP Shadow Boards

OSAAP is one of the largest companies in the world that manufactures foam Shadow Boards. They can make custom Shadow Boards by the dozens or special one of a kind Shadow Boards for unique workplace situations, such as those required in the aviation industry.

OSAAP Shadow Boards are offered in various high-quality foam materials, including ESD safe foam for sensitive electronic tools. The foam materials do not absorb moisture and can be cleaned with water or standard solvents.

Shadow Boards from OSAAP can be created in a variety of colors, and text and logos can be added for tool identification or personalization.

Creating Shadow Boards is a simple process. An image is taken of the tool layout you want to create and that is loaded into OSAAP’s free Shadow Board design software (CAD). From there, any additional design, sizing, or customization can easily be completed in the software using OSAAP’s in-depth training on their website. Send the completed layout to OSAAP and your custom Shadow Board will be created.

If you are interested in learning how OSAAP Shadow Boards can benefit your workplace, contact e2b calibration for more information.