Quick Changeovers (SMED) Single Minute Exchange of Die

Quick Changeovers for Manufacturing


Quick Changeovers for Manufacturing

Quick Changeovers for Manufacturing. Photo by Pascal

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a process used to reduce waste. Originally begun in manufacturing, the techniques associated with SMED have no boundaries and can be utilized across different industries with the same desired result: the elimination of waste. Efficiency and timeliness are hallmarks of this process, allowing for a seamless transition from manufacturing one product to the next.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the process of SMED took flight. A man by the name of Shigeo Shingo, a consultant to numerous companies, including Toyota, discovered inefficiencies within their car body-molding presses. These inefficiencies were caused by extended changeover times for tools. The average changeover time was between two and eight hours. If changeover takes a long time, then the production lost increases the cost of production.

Additionally, Toyota faced exorbitant land costs, meaning that vehicle storage was expensive. Their costs were higher due to the land costs, and vehicles were produced in uneconomic lots. Shigeo Shingo determined if the changeover costs could be lessened, the economic lot size could be condensed, which would reduce Toyota’s expenses.

In an effort to capitalize on their common parts, as well as to reduce and regulate tools and steps, Toyota altered their factory fixtures and vehicle parts. The success brought about by these improvements contributed to just-in-time manufacturing, which is a standard piece of the Toyota Production System. Gradually, changeover times were reduced from hours, to just three minutes in the 1970’s.

Utilization of SMED can take place within the current manufacturing and software development industries. Many concepts from SMED can be applied to present-day machines, as well as to humans. Each time a person switches between tasks, they will lose concentration, their performance may be affected and there is a potential to make mistakes. NASCAR pit crews (preparing for each pit stop before the pit stop begins; using a coordinated team to simultaneously perform multiple steps; creation of a standardized and enhanced process) utilize many techniques used in SMED. Typically, a tire changeover takes 15 seconds, and takes into account the human element.

SMED Principles in Information Technology:

  • Application of SMED to those sections where there is hold up of operations due to changeovers
  • Software code builds and tests:
  • In the software build process, pre-build changes to configuration can be completed outside the build server, which is then loaded onto the server just before the build.
  • In the testing process, pre-test configuration script changes can be completed separate from the critical resource, which is then uploaded before the start of the core test activity.
  • Project Flow – Large numbers of projects are commenced via a push process. These projects will spend much of their time stalled at several points in the project process. SMED can assist companies in the development of objective ways to arrange and assign projects. This should allow companies to deliver larger number of high quality projects.


Quick Changeovers for Manufacturing

Internal changeover operations are those things that happen while the machine is stopped are internal changeover operations.

Other things like External, Cross functional, and process driven can occur while the machine is on.


Single Minute Exchange of Die: dies will be exchanged in nine minutes or less.

Quick Changeovers for Service

ASQ Black Belt Single Minute Exchange of Dies Question

Question: Which of the following techniques dramatically shortens changeover times?

(A) Continuous flow
(B) Standard work
(C) Work in process (WIP)
(D) Single minute exchange of dies (SMED)

Answer: D Single Minute Exchange of Dies. This is a definition question.


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