Poka-Yoke is a methodology that makes the system so robust that the occurrence of doing any mistakes becomes very less. Less mistake means fewer defects and fewer defects means a better and safe product. In this article, we will discuss 25 common Poka yoke examples that you may encounter in your life on a daily basis and you can relate yourself to all those examples.
Poka-Yoke means mistake-proofing. Poka-yoke implements new processes or updates old processes so that there is less chance of doing any mistakes. When there is less chance or occurrence of doing a mistake, there will be less mistake. Poka-Yoke was invented by Shigeo Shingo in 1960 as a part of the Toyota Production System
The below link has a detailed guide of poka-yoke definition, types of poka-yoke, and how to implement poka-yoke. I would suggest you read those articles first so that you better connect yourself with Poka yoke examples in this article.
Poka Yoke Examples
Below are about 25 common Poka-Yoke examples divided into multiple categories. Although there are millions of such examples I just picked a few examples which you can relate to yourself and may see those in your day-to-day life.
Poka Yoke Examples in Automobile industry
Here are a few Poka yoke examples in the automobile industry. Mostly all safety features in the automobile industry can be considered as a typical poka-yoke example.
1. Adaptive Braking
Adaptive branding is an important mechanism in cruise control that helps a car to break whenever it’s very close to another car or object. Adaptive braking does not need any driver input and works based on the sensor that detects the obstacle. This is one of the best examples of Poka-yoke which saves many driver’s life.
2. Lane Assist control
The lane assists feature alerts, drivers, if they are going out of their lane and automatically steers back to the lane. This helps drivers to avoid a high speeding crash from a car coming from another lane. These features also help to bring back the car on the track if it is going away from their road.
3. Adaptive Headlights
Off late, this feature becomes very common in all cars. This feature will automatically trigger a headlight if the road is low on light. This helps to avoid a crash.
4. Electronic stability control
When sudden brakes are applied vehicles tend to go out of control. Electronic stability control helps to control the vehicle. This feature is more essential on the slippery road and during rain.
5. Blind Spot assist
This is a powerful Poka-yoke initiative which enables you to see a blinking light if any vehicle is coming from the blind spot. This helps the driver to avoid any crash although he may not see the other vehicle.
Poka yoke example in daily life
In our day to day life we see hundreds of such example which is based on the Poka yoke philosophy. Let’s list out couple of those here.
6. Cell phone overcharging protection
You might have noticed that even if you keep your cellphone on a charger for a night you don’t see any overheating issue. This is due to the overheat protection mechanism which is set in place. Whenever your cell phone is fully charged, the charging circuit cuts off automatically to protect your cellphone.
7. Circuit breaker in houses
This is truly a life-saving mechanism which saves our houses in case of overvoltage or fire. In case of any power issue, the circuit breaker breaks the circuit to protect our houses.
8. Flood switch in dishwasher
We never cut off the water supply manually in a dishwasher. Right? Did you ever have any overflowing issue? I believe NO unless your dishwasher is defective. So in a dishwasher, there is a device called a flood switch which stops the water inlet valve when the optimum water level is reached.
9. Washing machine auto shut off
You might have noticed that the moment you open your washing machine lid, the washing machine shuts off automatically. This is to protect you from any issue by the moving part and the water spillage.
10. Automatic defrost control in refrigerator
This is a useful feature in the refrigerator to save our foods from getting spoiled due to too much ice in the refrigerator. The auto defroster cleans those extra ice from your refrigerator so that your foods remain fresh and healthy.
Poka Yoke examples in Aerospace Industry
Well, the safety standards in airplanes are the highest. You can not have any opportunity to do a mistake. So every piece of a part in an aircraft has to follow a strict guideline based on Poka-yoke philosophy
11. Auto Pilot system
We all know that auto plight flies the planes as and when required. In fact, more than 70% of flight time is flown by autopilot. The autopilot is designed to avoid any manual mistakes done by pilots.
12. Auxiliary power unit
The auxiliary power unit ( APU) is a small turbine that helps airplanes to fly even if both engines fail. Although you can not fly as long as an engine can help an airplane to fly, this is a safety feature that helps the aircraft to reach at least an airport.
13. Different meals for captain and first officer
Many of you may not know that both captain and the first officer can not have the same type of meals. The reason is, if the food has any issue, maybe one pilot will get sick. The other pilot can still fly the plane as he or she took a different meal.
14. De-Icing of aircraft wings
There are a couple of accidents in the past due to too much ice formed on aircraft wings. When aircraft wings get ice on top of it, it loses the lift and then it leads to crashes. Automatic de-icing injects a chemical on the wings so that the wings are kept ice-free and the aircraft can fly safely.
15. Fuel jettisoning
Fuel jettisoning is an essential feature during emergency landing. It projects from major fire due to the fuel tank in the wings.
Poka yoke examples in manufacturing
Manufacturing is one of the key areas where Poka-yoke gets widely used. Let’s figure out a couple of examples from the manufacturing field.
16. Light gourd in machines
Light guard in machines stops the machine whenever a person comes very close to the machine. A sensor detects the presence of an object and shuts off the machine.
17. Interlock switch
Interlock switch detects the position of the power guard and automatically shuts off the machine if the guard is lifted. The machine won’t run unless the guard is set in place.
18. Color coded bins
It’s an industry practice to use color-coded bins for the standardized part. It helps the operator to grab the required part quickly and he never forgets to assemble any part.
19. Magnet in grain packaging
It’s impossible to check metal pieces in grains. That’s why grain packaging industries use magnets so that they can easily pick metal pieces. It’s an important safety feature.
20. Safety mats
High risk machines usually have safety mats. If any one put their foot on that, the machine stops automatically to safeguard the operator.
Poka yoke examples in product design
In product design, Poka Yoke is used literally from concept design to the final design. Lets list out couple of those.
21. Design for assembly
Design for assembly ensures that the design won’t create any issue in the assembly. This Poka-yoke example takes into account all assembly considerations before actual production so that the assembly line should not face any surprises.
22. Design for manufacturing
Manufacturing consideration takes space in the design cycle at a very early stage. This is to ensure that the product design is good enough to get it manufactured. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.
23. Design for quality
A product design can solve the purpose for which it was intended. But unless that design is not optimized, it’s not good enough from a cost point of view. That’s where quality comes into play. A product design should be good enough as well as it should be optimized for quality.
Poka yoke examples in service industry
The service industry is not spared from using poka-yoke. In fact, you will find thousands of examples of poka-yoke getting widely used in the service industry.
24. Bag tags in airport
Bag tags ensure that no baggage is lost in transit or during movement in the airport. If there were no bag tags it would have been a mess to find your bag.
25. Electronic waiters pads
Many big restaurants nowadays use electronic waiters pad so that waiters do not serve the wrong food to the wrong table. This helps in preventing any mistake by the waiters and it helps in increasing customer satisfaction.
That’s all I have in this article. I know it’s really tough to have all Poka yoke examples in a short article. There are millions of such examples where poka-yoke is widely used. Capturing all those in an article is not logical and not possible also.
However, you can always share your piece of examples in the comment section and I will be happy to update my article to add that example. If you do have a question, you can write in the comment section and I will be happy to assist you.