Case Studies

Lean Manufacturing: Armor Components for Military Vehicles


Customer had been required to ramp up production of armor components for military vehicles very quickly. Improvements in the process and layout were desired to produce a high quality product with optimal cycle time and minimal waste. A major issue was the process bottleneck, the heated vessel in which the parts are cured, which is called an autoclave.


A number of layout and process improvements were implemented based on a 3-day Value Stream Analysis Processsm, which documented the current state, designed the future state, and developed a project plan to manage the improvements.


  • Total throughput increased from 70 units per week to 262 units per week. (374% improvement)
  • Man-hours per unit decreased from 6.85 hours to 2.75 hours (60% improvement)
  • Reduced time product spent curing in the autoclave by 19% with no reduction in quality.
  • Reduced time to prepare parts before going into the autoclave by 17%
  • Reduced hours required for 'layup' of parts by 17%

Estimated Financial Results

  • Increased capacity $1.7 million in potential additional revenue per year
  • Benefit to cost ratio of greater than 10 to 1


  • Total throughput capacity increased from 262 units per week to 660 units per week.
  • Man-hours per unit decreased from 2.75 hours to 1.27 hours (60% improvement).
  • Freed up staff was able to assist on other Mission-Critical tasks and/or help improve other processes around the facility.