Alcon Components – Master Cylinder Manufacture


Alcon components have worked with Capella Associates on this project entitled ‘Master Cylinder Manufacture’. Capella Associates have worked with over 250 organisations across a range of sectors, helping organisations to improve their performance.

The aims

Identify and understand the current processes in place at Alcon Components in order to reduce processing time and reduce scrap rates.

The challenges

  • To reduce processing time from 77 hours to 40 hours.
  • To reduce scrap rates from 20% to 5%.

The solutions

  • Walk and map current process routes across 5 machines.
  • Set up a data collection system to understand and measure scrap.
  • Analyse and improve set-up and change over procedures.
  • Analyse and prioritise the root causes of scrap.
  • Modify clamps and tooling to reduce change-over time.
  • Streamline inspection and sign-off processes.
  • Analyse and optimise machine capability.
  • Implement 5S on 2 machines.
  • Provide additional training for key people.
  • Complete an environmental legislation compliance review and make recommendations for action.

The results

  • Process flow was optimised, reducing the number of processing steps from 36 to 19.
  • This reduced processing time from 122 to 81 minutes per unit.
  • Average scrap was reduced from 5 units to 1 and increased quality through the implementation of more robust procedures.
  • This led to a saving of £158k pa through the removal of scrap, overtime and reduced power consumption.
  • 217.5 tons CO2 were saved through the removal of process steps and scrap reduction.
  • Two jobs were safeguarded and two new roles were created by increasing capacity and customer confidence in delivery commitments which are vital in the motorsport industry.
  • An increase in capacity will enable new work to be taken on without additional cost and investment.
  • Opportunities for further improvements in key metrics were identified.
  • Improvements were implemented across the business to ensure ongoing compliance with ISO14001 and ISO9001 which is crucial for supplying to main customers.
  • This project improved cross-functional team working through experienced people ‘buddying-up’ with those starting their Six Sigma journey.
  • The project increased skills and confidence in problem solving and process improvement, and also led to accreditation to Six Sigma Green Belt level.

Learning points

  • It takes time to gather good quality data but once gained, you can make decisions based on fact and not gut feeling.
  • Cross-functional teams are critical to solving problems in businesses.
  • Investing in developing skills and giving people the time to apply what they are learning to improvement projects delivers results for businesses, their customers and their employees.

SWM comment

Capella Associates helped to deliver a variety of benefits for Alcon Components, saving the organisation time and money. In addition, by focusing on skills and training there are practical results for businesses, customers and employees.


For further information visit the Capella website.