Attaining shorter Cycle Times by optimizing Bottleneck Processes

Challenges Faced Planning the Production of Piston Rings

  • Each order goes through individual processes multiple times (returns to the process)
  • Realizing the optimum sequence plan for bottleneck processes / machines
  • Reduction of processing time per optimizing bottleneck processes
  • Creating optimal work orders for individual resources to enable maximum process synchronization


  • The machines run "unmanned" and are looked after by a scaffold-team
  • Special Feature:
    - Some resources, such as "Smearing" are repeated several times and are thus bottleneck resources
    - Treatment of bottleneck resources is highlighted in the representations

Practical Examples

Integrated Master Editor Table: The Integrated Master Editor Table manages work plans, parts lists and detailed process characteristics for each resource (human, machine, tool, material).
The illustration shows the 16 steps of piston ring production "XT5". For the processes 50, 90 and 150, multiple resources are available. Asprova decides which resources are actually used.
Shift Table: In the Shift Table processing times for individual work processes / groups are stored and provided with a unique name (shift code).
Calendar Table: The Calendar Table references the shift and resources table.
It allows targeted allocation of working hours and shifting patterns to certain resources. The working hours from Monday to Friday are active for all resources full-time. Resource "Control1" will be assigned the code "Standard", as there is sufficient capacity. Resource "Smearing1" receives a special layer for Saturday, "Special".
Order Table: In addition to "classical" order data, the Order Table contains e.g. custom property fields. In this example, manufacturing orders are transferred to Asprova.
Resource Table: In the Resource Table, resource-specific properties are stored, such as the constitution of resource groups, production and setup suspend times MIN / MAX, resources lot sizes, dependancy on preceeding or succeeding resources, display color and position in the Gantt Charts.
Scheduling results: The Resource Gantt Chart visualizes the scheduling result and gives a quick overview e.g. about delayed orders, bottleneck resources, process flow, waiting times between operations.
Per drag-and-drop individual processes can be moved, fixed, unfixed or released - always taking into account the prescribed planning parameters and rules.
The example shows the scheduling result WITHOUT bottleneck optimization. The resource "Lubrication1" represents a bottleneck causing long waiting times for upstream processes (blue horizontal lines).
The result AFTER completing bottleneck optimization with Asprova: All upstream steps were puloled closer to the corresponding steps of the resource "Lubrication1", thus reducing the waiting times to a minimum. The waiting time for this article alone was shortened by> 5 working days.
Colour-highlighted representation of a single order with assigned resources AFTER bottleneck - optimization.
The Order Gantt Chart: shows the time course of the scheduled jobs, both in general over-view (intermediate products, inventory, replenishment and purchasing orders, outsourcing, etc.), as well as in specific detail of individual orders.
The following illustrations show the result AFTER bottleneck optimization.
Linked representation of a Order Gantt Chart with its associated processes.
Load Graph: Asprova optimizes and levels out the utilization of all resources according to configurable rules. The high computing speed of Asprova allows for successive optimization by configuring different planning scenarios. For example, you can simulate a wide variety of labor and machine time models in a few minutes and selecting any of them.
The Inventory Graph visualizes the inventories development. For this, Asprova takes into account inter alia: Existing inventory quantities, MIN / MAX - stocks, access of certain materials for set or "reserved" dates. The representation of the inventory history can be extensively filtered and configured.
Result BEFORE bottleneck optimization: Inventory is accessed too early and lingers in the production process (long waiting times).
Result AFTER bottleneck optimization: inventory and purchase orders are retrieved at a latest possible date.
Work Instructions: Asprova generates work instructions for each workplace, each resource and each process and provides them for export to other systems. The level of information content and detail are individually configurable. (The illustrations show only a reduced period of time).

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