What is SMED?

SMED is an abbreviation for Single Minute Exchange of Die. This is a process that is used to help reduce the setup (or changeover) time and effort that is needed by identifying elements as either internal or external for the operating time of a machine. Any elements that can be exchanged externally while the machine is still running will be done so that there is less downtime.

The Goal of SMED

The goal of the SMED process is to cut down setup time from wherever it is currently to 9 minutes or less. In most situations that don’t yet follow this process there are many hours of downtime, so it gets down to single digits of minutes, which is where the system gets its name.

It is understood that not all exchanging of dies and other changeover efforts can be done in less than 10 minutes. Companies should still make an effort to accomplish that goal to the extent possible. In virtually every situation it will be possible to reduce the amount of downtime that is present, so even if it doesn’t go down to 9 minutes or less, there will still be significant benefit. All downtime costs the company money, so this strategy will help to keep things up and running as much as possible.

Techniques of SMED

There are many proven strategies that are used with SMED. Companies looking to implement this system will want to learn of the proven techniques that can be harnessed to get the best possible results. Some of these techniques include:

  • Break internal and external components apart so they can be handled more efficiently.
  • Standardize everything by function, not by shape.
  • Eliminate fasteners as much as possible.
  • Adopt parallel operations so that work can be done even while some areas are going through changeover.
  • Reduce or eliminate adjustments as much as possible.

Any company that has to changeover dies and other parts for their machinery will want to look into the many benefits that SMED can provide.


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