Custom Machines Case Studies

Custom Manufacturing Machine Helps Eliminate Waste for Six Sigma Manufacturing

custom-inspection-machineIn a lightbulb manufacturer’s quest for six sigma manufacturing, one piece of the puzzle was missing. Manufacturing inefficiencies were causing significant profit to be lost due to too many rejected parts. Issues in the manufacturing process needed to be identified.

Improved quality and reduced scrap were achieved through a custom manufacturing machine designed by EPIC Custom Machines.

Client: Fortune 500 Light Bulb Manufacturer

Industry: Lighting Industry

Key Engineering Features:

  • High-speed Part Orienter for correct part positioning
  • Vision Inspection system examines each manufacturing process step in 1/3rd of a second
  • Reject Station removes rejected parts from the line
  • Integrated data base records failing part elements to prioritize process improvements

Core Challenges:

  • Part Orientation: Light bulbs at the end of the manufacturing line were randomly oriented. EPIC’s machine was designed to correctly position parts for inspection.
  • Line speed was 3 parts/second and it was difficult to include the features needed for inspection. The system had to operate within the given throughput for project success.
  • Retrofitting a solution into the existing system was challenging due to initial design of the manufacturing line that did not include space for an inspection system or a reject station.

Front End Engineering:

EPIC teamed with the client to engineer a single system that could meet all inspection requirements of the client. In the Front End Engineering process, EPIC determined how many inspection steps were necessary to examine the bulb. Not only did EPIC need to identify the inspection steps, but they had to accomplish the entire inspection in 1/3rd of a second.

Through Front End Engineering, EPIC determined that a system could be manufactured to the client’s spec that included the following inspection points:

  • Left weld integrity
  • Right weld integrity
  • Broken filament
  • Coil spacing of the filament
  • Broken glass

EPIC’s Proven Solution:

manufacturing-machineThe client required a system that would examine all steps of the light bulb manufacturing process. Six sigma refers to only 3.4 out of every 1,000,000 parts produced. The manufacturer would produce parts without defect 99.99966% of the time. For the client to achieve that level of efficiency they had to improve their manufacturing process by identifying which part of the manufacturing process required the greatest improvement.

The first step toward six sigma manufacturing was to find which step in the manufacturing process caused the most defects. Decreasing machine speed was not an option for the client and new features could not impede the manufacturing process. Their required product output was 3 light bulbs per second or one light bulb every 1/3rd of a second.

EPIC found product defects in the rejected parts by utilizing a series of cameras mounted on a manufacturing machine that oriented each light bulb for inspection. If a part did not pass, it was rejected from the production line and logged into a database.custom-machine-inspection
This database allows the client to identify the exact areas of manufacturing that needed improvement. Aggregate data trends pointed to defects for EPIC to recommend changes to improve efficiencies and realize six sigma manufacturing.


EPIC Custom Machines designed and integrated a custom manufacturing machine that allowed the client to:

Reduce product waste by identifying:

  • Steps in the manufacturing process that cause the most likely defects for bulb rejects
  • Efficiencies to achieve six sigma manufacturing

Improve sales by:

  • Ensuring defect parts aren’t delivered to store shelves through proactive detection and inline reject
  • Increasing customer satisfaction through improved product quality


A custom machine design and build firm helps you design, fabricate and integrate an appropriate custom solution that meets your unique need. EPIC believes we can help you “Do It Better” by:

  • Utilizing Front-End Engineering to ensure that the proper steps are taken during project scope development
  • Appointing a single point of direct contact during the entirety of the project
  • Maintaining an open door client policy to promote innovation. We invite clients to visit EPIC’s state of the art facility to experiment with new processes, technologies and techniques that push the limits of traditional engineering.
  • Imparting a transfer of knowledge (not just a basic training) for the machines and equipment we provide


Find a better solution. Contact EPIC or learn more about custom machine design



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