Archives for July 2011
January 28, 2010
Bostik is a world leader in adhesive and sealant manufacturing. In 2008, the company employed 5,000 people across 48 manufacturing sites and 12 research centers, and generated nearly $2 billion in business. In Calhoun, Ga., the company operates a 23-employee facility.
With such an expansive and diverse company, it made sense that Bostik’s parent company would mandate an energy reduction program to keep costs under control. While the Calhoun facility operates on a smaller scale, it still needed to use energy efficiently.
Ray Davis, plant manager, and Dan Conetta, production manager, selected Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) to help implement their energy reduction program because of its expertise in energy reduction and lean manufacturing. An EI2 energy specialist visited the Calhoun facility to identify areas where energy improvement could be realized, communicated industry best practices and provided advice and consultation on the procurement of diagnostic tools for energy reduction purposes. She made a number of recommendations for Bostik, including utilizing more efficient fluorescent bulbs, reducing peak load by staggering equipment startup, relocating the air compressor intake from indoors to outdoors, discontinuing the unnecessary use of compressed air, reducing boiler blow-down in the summer, recovering steam condensate and properly insulating the boiler and steam piping.
- Reduced its energy consumption by an estimated 56 percent, saving $40,000
- Cultural shift towards energy reduction awareness and a reduced corporate energy footprint
In addition, employees have expanded their knowledge of energy reduction practices and Georgia Tech continues to be a resource to facilitate continuing education in energy reduction. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program, Georgia Tech can provide energy, waste and productivity assessments at no charge to small- and mid-sized manufacturers.
“Although the intent was not for Calhoun to be a model or pilot plant, many of the best practices which originated at this facility were leveraged and other facilities benefited from our experience with Georgia Tech. Additionally, some of the other Bostik facilities approached universities in their areas that are part of the same national energy reduction partnership and had energy audits conducted,” said Dan Conetta, production manager.
March 11, 2010
Delta Metals, a Savannah manufacturer of commercial and industrial sheet metal products was established in 1959 and is southeast Georgia’s largest sheet metal and roofing contractor. Delta Metals operates three divisions: sheet metal fabrication, roofing and industrial maintenance.
When managers were thinking of ways to modernize their business and increase productivity, they had a pretty good idea of what would work. But since their idea involved purchasing half a million dollars worth of equipment, they needed to be certain it would work. To assist, they called on experts from Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).
EI2 provided Delta Metals with market research to substantiate a need for the product beyond Delta’s then-existing market area. They also confirmed that the new process would result in substantial cost savings through an increase in productivity.
The management team took Georgia Tech’s report to its board of directors meeting, along with a marketing survey that identified potential new customers. According to Ben Wells, president, the Georgia Tech team verified the predicted cost savings and return on investment, prompting the board to approve the project.
Wells estimates the company has already realized savings from the investment and has increased productivity. Not only have the automation processes improved, but there is also a better flow of materials throughout the plant. The number of employees increased from 68 to 93.
“Sometimes when you’re that close to a project, you can be myopic. Georgia Tech provides a valuable resource to businesses wanting to expand or change product lines. Now we are much better positioned to be competitive on future projects,” said Scott Rasplicka, vice president.
June 14, 2010
Beaulieu of America, a leader in floor covering, was founded in 1978 and is based in Dalton, Ga. It has since grown to become the third largest flooring manufacturer and the largest carpet-only maker in the world. As a privately-held company, it employs more than 5,600 associates in more than 26 facilities and offices across North America and around the globe. Annual sales top $1 billion.
When managers at a Dalton, Ga.-based carpet manufacturer agreed to host a group of Georgia Tech students as part of a mechanical engineering course, they had no idea they’d also be learning some important lessons themselves. Students visited two plants at Beaulieu of America to evaluate energy-saving opportunities.
With funding from the Georgia Environmental Partnership (GEP), Beaulieu was able to have water, energy efficiency and conservation assessments conducted at five of its facilities. EI2 energy specialists conducted one-day site visits at each plant and held overview meetings on energy issues that were important to specific plants, like energy management, boilers and steam systems, large motors and drives or compressed air systems.
- Energy usage reduced by as much as 15 percent
- Estimated annual savings of as much as $2 million
- 25 million gallons of water, or $81,600, potentially saved annually
- $60,000 in documented savings
“This project highlighted some good opportunities. Saving energy is really a continuous process – there are a lot of little things you need to do to capture the savings. You don’t go through just one time and fix things; it’s a recurring event that has to be monitored,” said Troy Slatton, mechanical engineer with Beaulieu.
August 30, 2010
David Davis founded Precision Products, Inc. 17 years ago to make high precision extrusion parts for the carpet industry. Today, the family-owned business makes original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts for industries as varied as textile, food and beverage, automotive, medical, aerospace, military and power generation, in addition to reverse engineering parts.
When Don Smith began working as sales manager for Precision Products, Inc. in Tunnel Hill, Ga., the company primarily made high precision extrusion parts for the carpet industry. With the downturn in the economy, it was essential to diversify Precision’s customer base. He realized that in order to separate Precision Products from the average mom and pop machine shop, it was important to become ISO 9001 certified.
A quality specialist with EI2 first began working with Rich Graham, director of operations, at Precision Products in January of 2009. He conducted a gap audit to identify areas of improvement, and helped the team develop an implementation plan. He trained the staff at Precision in quality issues and internal auditing, helped them meet project milestones and reviewed all company documentation.
- ISO 9001 certification received
- Added new customers
- Increased sales by 30 percent
- Plans to add employees and expand facility space
“ISO certification was like training for a marathon; it was tough and a long way, but we were very prepared with Georgia Tech’s assistance,” said Rich Graham, director of operations.