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J T. Black, Professor Emeritus, Auburn University - The Lean Engineer

The Lean Engineer is an IE equipped with lean tools to redesign the factory from mass production to lean production. The lean engineering functions begin with redesigning the final assembly line into a mixed model line to make it flexible and create a level demand on the supply chain. The sub assembly conveyor type lines are dismantled and replaced with sub assembly cells operated by standing walking workers and using either the rabbit chase, sub cell or Toyota Sewing System arrangements to achieve the volume and mix flexibility needed to match final assembly. Finally, the job shop is redesigned into manufacturing cells, also U-shaped, to produce families of components to supply the sub assembly cells. In the manufacturing cells, the IE has to design machine tools to be at least single cycle automatics, design work holding devices and cutting tools for quick exchange. in-process quality control tools, like Poka-yokes, to prevent defects, decouplers to aid the workers and  preventive maintenance programs to make the machines and people reliable. Finally a kanban type production and inventory control system is designed to operate the supply chain and form a linked-cell manufacturing system design.

Dr. Black is a professor emeritus at Auburn University and has been teaching lean production before it was called lean. His first book, The Design of the Factory With a Future, called it IMPS for Integrated Manufacturing Production Systems. He is also author of "Lean Manufacturing Systems and Cell Design" with Steve Hunter and has a book titled "Lean Engineering" with Don Phillips in press. He recently celebrated his 50th year in academic teaching and currently is writing the 11th edition of the leading textbook in the field of manufacturing processes. He is a fellow in IIE as well as ASME and SME.

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