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Chaku Chaku


Chaku Chaku is a Japanese term that literally translates to 'Load - Load'. It's a lean concept for single piece manufacturing for a semi automated process. The machines are positioned in the right sequence and very close to each other. Machines are capable of performing their individual tasks automatically, including unloading of the component. All that the operator has to do is pick up the component and load into the machine.


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Manoj kumar on 16th April 2019.


Applause for the respondents - Manoj Kumar


Also review the answer provided by Mr Venugopal R, Benchmark Six Sigma's in-house expert.



Q. 151 Explain the key features of a Chaku Chaku production line as per Lean Management Systems. Are there any specific situations where using a Chaku Chaku system is better than using a fully automated line?



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Benchmark Six Sigma Expert View by Venugopal R

Having associated with Japanese experts on production planning methods, several years ago, I obtained very interesting inputs that transformed many conventional thoughts and practices. One such experience was the way we saw how the concept of ‘U shaped’ manufacturing ‘Cell’ brought about significant benefits and simplicity. The same production volume that used to be carried out in a large factory layout was unimaginably simplified to around one tenth of the area that was previously used.


The underlying principle for this transformation was to move away from “batch processing” to “single piece” flow concept. Now, within this ‘single piece’ flow concept there are several methodologies that emerged, depending on certain factors. One such methodology is Chaku Chaku which translates as ‘Load-Load’.


It is not necessary that all the U-shaped cells need to follow Chaku Chaku. This is ideally possible when we have several machine stations that are positioned in the right sequence of the process, and are capable of performing their individual processes automatically, including unloading of the component. Then all that the operator has to do is to pick up the component and load into the subsequent machine.


As one can guess, a high degree of meticulous planning is required to make this line work. The timing for each station’s operation has to be almost the same, or appropriately balanced, and equal to the time taken for the operator to complete once round of ‘loading’.  And it is essential that the machines are capable of automatically unloading the component to enable the operator to pick it up.


However, sometimes it so happens that the operator is required to perform the unloading as well on a particular machine, where auto unloading has not been possible. This could potentially reduce the overall efficiency unless the timing is well balanced.


And Lean and Quality need to go hand-in-hand. The machines should have high process capabilities to enable this method. Reworks will spoil the game.


This method may not be easily adaptable under certain circumstances. Imagine a molding shop where we have machines that automatically complete the molding and eject the product out. But, if there is a heat treatment process where a large number of the components have to be loaded into an oven, with a much larger cycle time, then we have to go to batching again, unless an expensive investment is done for getting equipment that can accommodate single piece flow, and the volume has to be large enough to allow the required baking time.


Obvious advantage of Chaku Chaku over full automation is the cost. Apart from that, it also provides more flexibility to change any particular machine to accommodate variants of the products.  

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Chako Chako is a Japanese term which means load load.

1.This is a process where only one action is performed load of part on many automated machines in a sequence.

Only one operator work on these machines in a circle & process time of each machine is fixed for one operator.

2. The machines assigned to a worker has to be run on basis of calculated process time to keep the line running smoothly.

3. Chako Chako production help to reduce the WIP time, idle time as this is a defect free production & no need of supervision of any part in a sequence.


Chako Chako have advantage on Fully automated production Line

1. This is cost effective than fully automated as fully automated need lots of research & initial investment cost.

2. This is more flexible than fully automated. Fully automated can perform only certain tasks & variety of tasks, while a employee can perform with more flexibility.


Thank You

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Manoj Kumar has provided the definition of a Chaku Chaku line and also mentioned its advantages over a fully automated line. Manoj's answer is the best answer. Read through the expert view to gain full understanding of Chaku Chaku set up.

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