If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends in lean equipment solutions (or if you’ve just been keeping up with our articles), you know that tube and joint design is widely applied to create effective material flow solutions. But what is tube and joint design? And what’s so great about it?
What is Tube and Joint Design?
The concept of tube and joint design can be seen in many different fields – swingsets and fences in playgrounds, compressed air systems, handrails at airports and train stations, and, of course, in manufacturing, production, and distribution operations. The particular kind of tube and joint product we use is specifically designed for in-plant industrial applications. The tubes are typically plastic coated steel or aluminum and the joints are coated steel, to comprise a robust and easy to use construction system.
Tube and joint design is very effective and structures are quick and easy to conceive, assemble, and change. Once built, they’re easy to adjust or repurpose, and the tube and joint components can be reused, all of which saves time and money.
Pros of Tube and Joint Design
Involvement of your team
Tube and joint combines two great elements of teamwork: combining ideas from multiple personnel, and speed of execution. It’s an acceleration of the standard PDCA cycle. When someone has a great idea, in a matter of hours they can have a structure built to test it out, make any necessary modifications, and put it into use. It’s a great feeling to see an idea come to life in real time.
Ease of Assembly
You don’t need to be an engineer to assemble a desk, workstation, or flow rack out of tube and joints—in fact, you’ll only need some simple tools: a saw, an allen key, and a measuring tape. The power of this system is in your mind and hands to quickly and easily create and build a structure using a few simple rules, with no technical experts required.
If you have a flow rack that, once in position, needs to accommodate a new obstacle or adjust to a new box size, it’s simple to modify the structure to handle the new requirement. We have installed structures that bolt onto existing machines, wrap around building columns, flow through machine guards, anything to safely present parts to the right position for an operator. This also means that when you no longer need a structure in a certain area or for a certain task, you can adjust it to fit a new location or purpose.
When a fixture has outlived its usefulness, you don’t have to trash it or cut it up for recycling. You can simply disassemble it and use it for parts. Both tubes and joints can be reused and repurposed for other designs in the future, saving you money when it comes time for new workstations, carts, and flow racks.
While new style modular assembly systems have come and gone like the latest fads, the Makitlean style tube and joint system has stood the test of time for decades with proven reliability and low cost. Whether using our tube or joint product or having custom flow racks, carts and work cells designed and built, contact Geolean to see how our solutions can best work for you.