Static control expert This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., PE, IEEE Fellow, President of Electrostatic Answers, has 25+ years of experience in problem-solving and consulting. To learn more about Dr. Robinson or Electrostatic Answers, visit:

Static causes 6 kinds of waste

The AIMCAL (Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators) 2011 Web Coating Conference had many interesting presentations. One was on designing a lean production line. This got me thinking about waste caused by static.

From a lean manufacturing perspective, all energy and resources should be focused on generating customer value. Resources and energy that are not creating customer value are waste. Here are seven forms of waste:

1. Transportation is moving product without transformation. This is factory lay-out and material flow issue where static plays no role.

2. Inventory is stuff sitting around before it is sold like “work in progress” or WIP rolls and spare parts inventory. The spare parts inventory should be just enough. Spare static bars and power supplies that are never used are wasteful.

3. Motion of material, workers or equipment should create customer value. If not, it is waste. Maintenance of the static control system and static measurements should be efficient and eliminate any unnecessary motion or activity. Having a static control system that is too complex or that does not work well is a waste of time.

4. Waiting for a problem to be solved or for an operation to be restored to reliable operation is wasteful. To solve a static problem quickly and minimize wait time, have a plan, have access to key data, and have the essential knowledge. Training can create customer value by minimizing waiting.

5. Over-processing is doing more that is necessary such as rework. Having to rewind a roll to neutralize static is over-processing.

6. Over-production is making more than enough because we “know” that we’ll have to throw some away. Any over production caused by static problems is wasteful.

7. Defective product caused by static is waste. High static that causes failures in customer operations is defective product. Producing product with static levels exceeding acceptable limits is wasteful.

Note that static plays a role in 6 of the 7 forms of waste. This realization is an “eye opener” for me!

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