When a thriving West Yorkshire engineering and manufacturing company decided to up sticks, and make camp in new premises, it saw the occasion as an ideal opportunity to streamline its existing operation and re-configure its factory layout.
But it needed specialist help.
So it called in TWI under the Joining Forces Yorkshire and Humber scheme, in what's known as a Near Market R&D work package.
The client provides a design, manufacture and refurbishment service for hydraulic actuators and associated equipment. Understandably its working environment involves large quantities of waste such as used oil and swarf.
In devising the scope of TWI's contribution three objectives were decided upon; to propose methods of improving and maintaining the cleanliness of the factory, to review the current factory layout and supply recommendations, and finally identify new and replacement equipment for the revised set-up.
It was no simple factory.
Outside comprised storage racking space, an open sided shed used for less than a dozen hours each month, a large oil storage tank plumbed to the test area, a steel plate stock store and several outside workstations for activities like steam cleaning and sand blasting.
Inside the existing factory contained areas for strip down, welding, machining, assembly, paint spraying, packaging and testing.
Upon visiting and assessing the site TWI's manufacturing specialists interviewed the client and compiled recommendations for improvement. It also researched equipment options and potential suppliers.
TWI made a number of recommendations the detail of which is confidential to the client. In general terms they related to clear compartmentalisation of the various working areas and replacing traditional disposal techniques with environmentally friendly alternatives.
Most radical of the suggested factory layout proposals involved reducing haul distances on site by moving materials close to the areas where they would be processed.
The changes clearly demanded a change of company mindset. Previously dirty operations like stripping, welding, machining, painting and packaging were addressed with a strong accent placed on cleanliness and control of pollution.
Armed with all this information TWI generated a virtual shop floor layout for the new premises that it presented to the client in report form.
As a result of the work the client is now assessing TWI's recommendations and is well positioned to make use of its premises shift to implement changes which would have been far more difficult to make at a later date.
To learn more about TWI's factory layout and manufacturing support services why not call Nick Spong or Chris Peters at TWI.
For information about TWI's capabilities please contact us.