machine shop

The value of Lights-Out Manufacturing

More customers demand better parts to be available precisely when they need them—and at the lowest possible price.

This demand is faced with tension as the cost of materials, utilities, labor and employee benefits continue to spiral upward.


The big picture objective of lights out is to reduce labor costs, but there are other potential savings as well.

First, planning long, overnight runs for the overnight shift can make a shop’s fully manned machine time more flexible. The idea is to do more short runs that require intervention for change-overs, work monitoring of more complicated parts, and the ability to respond to a customer’s urgent order can be accomplished during the day shift.

Also, machine operators can use their time more efficiently by setting up for overnight production, while daytime runs are in progress.

Last, power companies often charge less for energy used during off hours (overnight), so it may cost less to operate machinery during lights-out production.

author | schalk van niekerk