One of my bugaboos this year has been inventory control, especially around electrical components. I have been reading up on Lean following StemPunk’s (4531) brochure.
A big part of inventory control is storing stuff. We are like any team in that we have limited space to store stuff, so efficiency in storage is important.
One thing that has frustrated me over the years is storing of electronic parts. Lots of them are small (resistors, connectors, etc.). Most are widely varying sizes (motor controllers, sensors, LED lights, etc.) Some require electrostatic enclosure bags for each item.
Any suggestions/recommendations on how to efficiently and safely store electrical items? How does your team do it and does it work?
We use craft organizers for the smaller parts (including anti-static packaging).
Larger organizers for motor controllers, and there are some supplies that come in collections with their own organizer boxes, such as heat shrink.
We also have inherited small drawer cabinets from local businesses (excess/old inventory) that we can use, but most of our parts are in organizers with tools in tackle boxes.
857’s problem is more about what to do with large electronic items - motor controllers, motors, soldering station, etc. What do others do for these items? We have an entire FRC tote full of motors that is hard to access because it is so heavy.
For motors, we use Quantum Nest and Stack totes. Separated a little by type (drive motors, window motors, other/throttle, for example). The weight is reasonable, they set on shelves that are tall enough that you can turn and set a tote turned on top and set both bins.
Our tool cart also fits 9 of these bins, and spans the back of our pit. For electronics, I get 2 bins. One is wire, pwm cables, spares to share, etc. and the second tote is where I try to keep better stuff, spare cameras, motor controllers, RIO, PDP, PCM, VRM, joysticks, etc.
To date, we have largely used those systems with the small plastic pullout drawers, similar to this. They are OK in the shop, but they do not travel well. We are moving at least mostly to storage boxes like these which we have used for nuts and bolts and such for many years. While you can simply stack a bunch of these, if you can make a shelving unit for them and make good use of your labeler*, they become REALLY convenient.
If you don’t have a labeler, GET ONE! We use one of the new Dymo style labelers, but a sharpie and a roll of “magic tape” (flat finish plastic adhesive tape) is way better than nothing.
Look in the sporting goods section of your local Walmart for small tackle boxes. They’re cheap, come with dividers for the really small stuff, and are pretty hardy. I like Plano brand ones.
For bigger things, like motor controllers motors, walk over to the home section and buy a few plastic shoe boxes for about a buck a pop. Less, if you buy the 10-pack. The lids click closed, they’re big enough that you could fit CIM-class motors (perhaps not optimally), and they are also pretty hardy. You can also stuff a bunch of these into a KoP tote for transportation.
My preferred organizational system: put everything of a thing into a shoe box. If you can’t close the lid, you need to make two boxes and refine the sort further. (So if “electrical” doesn’t hold everything, perhaps it’s “wire” and “motor controllers”. If not “motors”, then “775 motors” and “PG motors” and “[strike]door stops[/strike] throttle motors”.)
How many of those motors do you actually end up using? You’re probably better off throwing out (or better yet, donating) a good portion of that if the motors just end up sitting there and not getting used, then sorting the motors out by type.
Found these through an acquaintance a few days ago. They rival to the Sortimo line which is pretty expensive. The main feature being that the bins are able to be removed and organized in the fashion you’d like.