Cycle time

Cycle time is used in reference to time needed to complete one cycle of an operation. In case of production line cycle time can be referred to operation on one machine (e.g. drilling several holes in metal element) or to manufacturing whole complete one product. However, in that case it is more often known as lead time.

Total duration of the work process consists of cycle time of all elements increased by breaks incurred by technological or other reasons. Therefore total duration of work would consist of:

  • cycle time multiplied by number of manufactured elements,
  • preparation time * number of elements,
  • tools change time * number of changes,
  • worker breaks,
  • breakdown time.

As only cycle time creates value for the customer, managers try to optimize processes in order to reduce other times. The most popular method is SMED (Single minute exchange of die).


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