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America's Elite Factories These plants have taken

by:Tuowei     2019-06-07


Fortune magazine)

-Steel dynamic miniMILL WITH MAXI-

On a sunny day in July, in a corn field in northeast Indiana, a lightning storm is gathering ---indoors.

At Butler steel Power's efficient plant, a huge crane threw a pile of scrap metal into a 190-pound mouth

Ton electric furnace.

The lid is opened and three carbon electrodes are lowered.

Then the fireworks began.

100 megawatts of electricity accompanied by Roar and crackles-

Enough to illuminate a small city-

Shoot through the stove.

When the electrode temperature rises to 7,000 [degrees]F.

The workers shuffled around the stove, covered from head to foot, wearing an aluminum-plated keflal jacket.

From the air, you can feel the dazzling light and the burning heat.

Bob Soden, steel power engineering and service manager and hot-

When sparks and molten pieces of hot steel shoot out of the air, factory manager Barry Schneider is adamant.

'Yes, every three months or so, we have to change the windows,' said Sorden, pointing to the black steel embedded in the glass.

This is steelmaking, Mini. mill style.

Steel power is essentially a recycler that converts waste into 2.

2 million tons per year-

Steel for buildings, cars, and other manufactured items.

In recent years, the steel industry has been very difficult because of the surge in imports, resulting in falling prices.

Since 1998, 19 steel producers have accounted for 25% of the United States. S.

Chapter 11 applications have been submitted. Some are mini-

The cost of steel companies is lower than that of integrated steel companies that produce raw metals from iron ore. Many mini-

Mills sprouted in the 1990 s, hoping to surpass the success of the mini-mini

Nucor, with its revolutionary continuous thin-

Continuous casting technology.

Steel power is probably the only mini.

The mill that can claim to have pulled it down.

It uses the same technology, but the operating profit per ton is $55.

According to analysts at Morgan Stanley Dean Witte, Newcastle's share price is $43.

In 2000, the company's profits rose 36% from a year earlier, to $54 million, and sales rose 12% to $0. 693 billion.

Despite the decline in earnings this year, shares of the company rose 20%.

Steel Power maintains profitability by reducing costs and healing labor.

Founded in 1993, the company consists of three former Nucor executives: Keith Busse, Richard Teets and Mark Millett.

They're building the world's first thin-slab mini-

At the end of 1980, a manufacturing plant for Nucor was made in Crawford sville, Ind.

This process, developed by the German equipment manufacturer SMS, transformed the newly melted steel into a continuous strip of about 2 inch thick.

It can be rolled into steel plates faster than the typical ten-inch-

Thick steel plate integrated steel plant.

Investors are eager to help the three companies launch the Mini

Their own mill.

Their plan is to improve what they have learned in NewCo.

'We have a keen and deep understanding of what works and what's wrong,' Millett said . '

His hair is gray.

Many new Mini

Factory entrants after the commercial heat

Steel business, thick rolled steel for manufacturers.

But steel power companies want to pursue higher goals.

This requires a thinner gauge and a higher quality.

'We do business to make money.

'We don't have a steel business,' says milllet . '.

'We want to make cars --

The lowest quality steelcost producer.

'Steel Power got its mini

The plant was built and operated within 14 months with an initial capital cost of $0. 275 billion-

Analysts say prices for such facilities have hit a record low.

What's even more impressive is that six months later, the factory made a profit in July 1996.

It reached such high quality that by the sixth week of production it had been for-

Ford F-frame hanging arm

150 pickup.

Today, about 33% of the factory's production is used by car manufacturers for chassis, frame and interiordoor panels. (

Steel for automotive skins still comes from integrated steel mills. )

Today, the trick to making money in steelmaking is to control the three costs of raw materials, electricity and labor.

It is essential to bring the factory close to the supply of cars and other scrap steel.

Scrap steel accounts for about 51% of the total production cost of steel enterprises. in recent years, scrap steel costs from $95 per ton (2,240 pounds)

$185 per ton

Steel Power signed.

regular procurement agreement with OmniSource, one of the original investors of the plant, ensures a stable supply.

Steel Power has also made good achievements in electric power.

It buys 2 from US electricity.

8 cents per kilowatthour--

At the low end of the price range paid by minimills.

But if you ask Jordan why the company is profitable, a lot of peers are in trouble, he will tell you all about the incentives for 525 workers in the factory.

Steel use 0.

37 working hours per ton of steel and $1 per employee.

3 million, one of the highest games in a mini gamemills. Soden is a die-hard steel man.

Before joining newco, he worked in the United States. S. Steel, the No.

One integrated producer.

He was the fourth to leave Newcastle to join the steel startup. (

In the end, about 50 Nucor employees went to steel power. )Standing 6-foot-

1, from the smoke of the factory and the dirt from the soot, when Sorden snorted on the factory floor and on the catwalk, spoke in a hoarse voice, occasionally dragging cigarettes

'You rarely see people doing nothing,' he said . '

'Everyone is motivated by the pay system, and when something happens, they get there and reach out.

Waldo, an analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witte, added: 'Steel Power has a unique workforce and its hips are really broken.

'It's easy to see why.

If the production level is reached, hourly workers can receive a high bonus of $10 per week, with a maximum salary of $10.

This is not unusual in mini. mills.

However, if the input costs remain at the lowest level during the production process, steel power also has a monthly conversion bonus.

'Everyone pays attention to costs and tries to find ways to reduce costs,' explains Schneider . '.

'For example, the person who inserted the probe into the stove to measure the temperature knew that the cost per probe was about $10.

He only wants to do it once, not four.

If someone saw something dripping oil, they wouldn't let it drop forever because it was their salary.

'If the conversion bonus level is reached, a worker who earns $10 an hour can earn another $2 an hour bonus in his salary.

The company also gave an annual profit.

The average bonus for 2000 was $6,700.

Matching staff 401 (k)

Contributing based on the company's return on assets, from office assistants to stove workers, all employees have stock options twice a year.

As a result, employees are very concerned about quarterly conference calls and earnings reports, Schneider said.

In 2000, employees of steel power, excluding officials, were paid an average of $64,700.

It takes about two hours for steel power to convert scrap steel into steel.

About 55 minutes later, a batch of scrap enters one of the four furnaces, melting orange-

Red Steel, hit 3,000 [degrees]

, Transported by a bridge crane with a spoon to the metallurgical adjustment area, where technicians compete to test, refine and add alloys.

From there, liquid steel is transferred to the casting deck, where it is emptied into a reservoir in many sparks and collisions.

Flow of water in reservoir control flow-cooled, copper-

The lining mold of the continuous casting machine.

As it flows through the mold, the spray of cold water and rollers cools the outside of the steel.

When it leaves the mold, there is a solid outside it, there is liquid inside, the temperature is 1,800 [degrees].

This is a stage where expensive 'breaks' or puncture can occur on the cooling surface, conveying molten steel to the mold and around the roller.

'It takes about an hour and a half to replace the casters, and it costs $10,000 each time the casters are turned off and turned on,' Soden said . '.

Earlier in the morning of July, a breakthrough did occur.

The crew were all up and down the stairs, shouting at each other at the radio, busy changing the mold to get the casters running again.

As the continuous ribbon of steel passes through the mold, it gradually needs 90-

From vertical to horizontal.

The slate is raised slightly and cut to 150-to 175-

The length of the feet and move directly into the tunnel furnace, which makes them heated at a constant 2,100 [degrees].

After removing the scale on the black surface, the slate is still red

Orange, shipped to the first rack of the mill.

As it passes through seven rolling racks, the speed of steel speeds up to 38 miles per hour, which gradually flatten it to 0 miles. 039 inches.

In the end, it's wrapped in 20-

ton of tape or coil that looks like toilet paper.

These belts are either shipped to the end user or sent to the cold rolling mill of the steel power company, where their thickness is further reduced to 0.

011 inch and give a variety of finishes or textures.

The steel of the cold rolling mill is a quality product, usually priced at $100 to $150 per ton, specific heat-rolled steel.

Differences in technology and process between heat-

Plants and cold band

Rolling facilities have resulted in good

Fierce competition between the two forces of work

'Hot grinding is big, there is fire and sulfur.

'The cold roll is so shiny and fresh,' Sorden said with a bit of ridicule as he took the other cigarette to his lips.

'I will never be happy there.

Delphi car system is in sync with stateOF-THE-

Art Machine injection about the new decoration of Delphi Automotive System, the first thing you may notice

The molding plant in Cortland, Ohio, is that the parking lot is almost empty.

Behind the flag-

The factory is located in a small town ten miles west of the Pennsylvania border, lined with main streets, with space for 550 cars, but only about 40.

Into climate-

Control 160,000-square-

Walking facilities, you will not see a lot of workers running around.

This is surprising because the plant has 120 printing machines each year to produce a billion plastic case for electrical connectors for cars and telecom equipment.

'The advantages of this plant are invisible,' Sandy said . '

Director John Stephen.

'You'll see the lights flashing and you'll see the auto-guided vehicle moving around, but what you can't see is as important as what you see.

'The reason why the Cortland plants hum is

Monitor the manufacturing network of individual molding machines, tools, finished parts and shipping orders.

Over the past two years, Delphi has spent $14 million to renovate the building, previously used to assemble automotive wiring harnesses, and another $30 million to produce equipment, computers, and software, and Ethernet that connects factories to suppliers and customers.

Stefanko can see in real time what parts a machine is currently making from his home PC, whether it takes 15 seconds, 18 seconds or 20 seconds, and how many parts it has made in the last 15 minutes.

From such data, Stefanko can predict the production after a few months.

When there is a problem with the machine, the system will also remind the operator--

Before it starts to spit out the defective part or close it completely.

It tells the supplier when to re-stock the inventory of the factory and lets the customer know exactly when their order will arrive.

'This plant is amazing.

This is a step beyond the level of art, 'said Ron Bishop, president of San Bishop and Associates. Charles, Ill. , a market-

research company specializing in electrical components.

Delphi hopes that the Cortland plant and the technology that runs the plant will enable it to open up new parts markets and curb the impact of the automotive industry cycle.

Most of the company's revenue comes from the auto industry, and the recession has fallen sharply this year.

Sales fell 13% in the first six months of 2001 to $13.

5 billion, Delphi made $0. 139 billion.

The same period last year was $0. 746 billion.

To find out how big a technological leap is at the Cortland plant, all one has to do is travel about 8 miles south to plant 3, an old Delphi plant that produces similar parts.

In a crumbling building with broken windows, 240 injection

The molding machine, which has a history of more than 30 years, is wearily squeezed out plastic housing for the connector.

The parts on the machine were spit into the big box on the floor and the worker had to bend over and pick them up.

Up to 1,000 defects per million.

few years ago, after Delford spun out of General Motors, GM executives saw an opportunity to enter the new market for electrical connectors, including telecom and consumer appliances.

However, customers in these industries have much lower demand for orders and new designs and much faster response times.

Delphi needs to update the factory.

The challenge falls on a group of IT experts, including Jeff Ziegler, the company's global infrastructure manager;

Peter Leonard, chief information officer;

And Frank Ventura, your manager. S.

Manufacturing Information System.

They work with the manager and operator of Cortland to design hardware and software.

The operation and communication framework of the factory and the database of Oracle use Microsoft Windows NT.

GE Fanuc's software sends commands from the production server produced by Compaq to the logic controller running each machine.

The organization encountered many problems in the system.

In May 2000, about a month after the network was installed, the production server suddenly went out of power as the factory ran with about 20% capacity.

'I think, my God!

'We only put in 20% and we have overloaded the system and fried it,' Stefanko recalls . '.

When there is a problem with the network, the return of the IT system is obvious.

The Cortland factory has fewer employees, about 150 people in total.

Compared to ten machines in factory 3, one operator controls 15 machines.

Defect rate of components used internally--

Parts shipped to another Delphi factory where other parts were added-

Down to 14 per million.

For parts sent to other companies, the factory has a zero defect rate.

Delphi is the fourth.

Largest connector manufacturer for $33billion-a-

Analysts expect the market to grow by about 7 this year.

5% a year in the next five years.

'This plant makes Delphi low.

'The cost manufacturer of automotive connectors,' said market researcher Bishop . '. Cortland's e-

Manufacturing effort starts from the beginning: original-

Material handling.

The factory supplies 10 million pounds of yellow, gray and black Nylon 6/6 particles per year and arrives in time from another Delphi factory.

Nylon 6/6 particles used in the past

The large carton, known as Gaylords, weighs 1,500 pounds and costs $37 per carton, and can only be used once to avoid contamination.

When the Gaylord couple arrived, the workers stuffed a suction pipe into the box and transferred the material to the third round --foot-

Rolled to the factory floor and placed on the high cardboard box next to the molding machine.

There, the other tube will suck the material into the machine, and the operator will tilt the container in this way, trying to get the last 15 or 20 pounds particles at the bottom.

Today, the material enters a sealed reusable metal box.

The operator scans the barcode on the bin and the computer determines the position and time of the yellow case of the circuit connector in the car airbag system.

The bin is pushed to the vacuum and the material is sucked into 2 by vacuum. 5-

The overhead inch aluminum pipe in the factory is deposited directly into the machine.

The result is fewer defects caused by workers who process the material.

Each part has a 'gold formula' for making the various machine settings required '.

These recipes are stored in the IT network.

By touching the appropriate icon on the plane-

The panel computer screen, the operator can download the formula into the molding machine.

Some settings were manually entered by the operator before.

This increases the possibility of input errors, causing the setting to deviate from the original recipe.

Once the machine matches the material with the formula and the mold, it starts to put the plastic particles into the bucketand-

Spiral mechanism like a large meat grinder.

It crushed the material and heated it to a liquid state of 550 [degrees].

The molten plastic is then sprayed into the mold, which is cured or hardened by water cooling.

Depending on the mold, it takes only a few seconds for each cycle to produce two to 32 plastic parts.

When the part moves up the conveyor belt, it cools and the soft drill drops into the box.

For a long time, the computer tracks how many parts are in the box, how long it takes for the box to fill, and how many parts are rejected.

If a machine detects that it makes a bad part, it puts the parts made in that particular cycle into a separate conveyor belt and then they fall into a bucket.

If the machine fails three times in a row, it alerts the operator.

The operator is notified when the box is finished.

After grabbing some parts and doing a quick quality check, the operator clicked on a button next to the machine.

In Charlotte, 500 miles away, a large computerC.

, Print out the label and add the box to the production count for the day.

The conveyor belt moves the filled box to the side and replaces it with an empty box so that production can proceed.

At the same time, a team of automatically guided vehicles, or AGVs, started a quiet, synchronized dance throughout the factory.

Also known as frogs, after their manufacturer, the Dutch frog navigation system, AGVs is guided by 4,000 magnets embedded on the factory floor.

About 13 miles an hour, frogs will stop, and if you are on the road, they will make a polite little beep.

frog pulls to the window at one end of the factory and picks up an empty container.

It then delivers it to the machine along with the finished box and delivers it to the shipping department.

One of the most critical features of IT Network Services is the maintenance of equipment.

It monitors the number of cycles using a particular mold and arranges it for maintenance.

But it's not that everything at the Cortland factory is E-Commerce oriented. manufacturing.

'We are on our way for $1.

system that delivers 5 million of the finished product.

But when we see ten

'There is no point in cost savings for one year,' Stefanko said . '.

Still, IT groups are looking for more ways to automate.

'The cost of technology is falling,' Leonard said . '.

'We have built a good IT system, but we are not self-sealing.

'Without hurting patients, Baxter Healthcare's factory in the Ark mountain area needs a shaving fee.

Constantly strive to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.

There is nothing unusual except that in this case it is more precarious.

When the chip in the computer is defective, it may not be able to start.

However, inferior venous catheter or dialysis bag made in shanjia may be harmful to the health of the patient.

In a huge factory located between two lakes in the center of Ozarks, 1,600 employees make IV bags, pipes and bags for dialysis equipment.

Some of the outputs were sent to other facilities in Baxter for further processing, and the rest were shipped directly to hospitals, dialysis clinics and the Red Cross, which the Red Cross used to collect and test blood.

The quality of the product is crucial to the enduser. 'In the mid-

1980. we start from scratch.

'Defect day, we invited some patients who talked about how the product was used and what it meant to them to get the product working properly,' said quality department manager Bill Bramlett . '.

'Sometimes these patients are the people who work here, or the family of the people who work here.

In those days, there were not many dry eyes.

'But controlling costs is equally important for families in mountainous areas. Since the mid-

1980 s factory has accepted some lean production

Manufacturing Technology and Justicein-

Inventory control time.

few years ago, it was introduced into the process of continuous improvement in Japan.

In general, the factory has reduced the manufacturing time by 84% and improved in the following aspects

Delivery time is over 99%.

This year, it won a prestigious Shingo award for its outstanding performance in manufacturing.

The award was awarded by the University of Utah, named after the late doctor

Shigeo Shingo, an engineer who helped design the famous Toyota production system.

Stroll through the corridors of mountain plants and you may feel like you are in the hospital ward.

The smell of disinfectant filled the air, and the staff hurried past with hair nets, white coats and safety glasses.

Because its products are for health-

The nursing system, so is the Mountain House-

Called cleaning facilities

The products designated for Japan account for 5% of the factory's output, after a more stringent process.

They were made by workers from head to foot in separate rooms.

This is because the Japanese are particularly picky about cleaning and product presentation, explained Vic Crawley, family facilities manager in the mountains.

Due to additional steps, Baxter can charge an extra fee for many of these products.

But for most of Baxter's product lines, it's hard to raise prices.

The company's profits were attacked in the medium term.

1980, when Congress begins to restrict government programs from paying back hospital and other health bills --

Care facilities for treatment and expenses.

About half of the plant's output was used in Baxter's kidney division, which accounted for about $6 a quarter.

Last year, Baxter International made $9 billion in sales and $0. 915 billion in profits.

The factory produces two disposable products for dialysis: continuous bedridden peritoneal dialysis, patients can move around after draining the solution out of the body, hemodialysis, in which case the patient must be connected to the machine for several hours.

The plant also produces blood collection and cell separation equipment for the Baxter Bioscience Department, which accounts for more than one-

Baxter International ranks third in sales and profits.

Sales in both companies are growing in double

But margins continue to be squeezed.

'We joked that in our 70 s we sold IVs for one dollar and today we still sell IVs for one dollar, but the price of raw materials and labor

Time, 'said Crawley, a thin man who drew slowly.

'If you want to increase your profit margin and you can't increase your price, you have to reduce your costs and introduce new and innovative products.

'So for the past 15 years, the mountain has been paying the price --Cutting expedition

Through various lean

Crowley said the plant cut production costs by 4% per year over a decade.

Two years ago, some factory executives attended a conference in Chicago on improvement.

In 1999, the factory held its first improvement event, where production staff and others met to rethink the manufacturing process and were immediately attracted.

Today, it hosts about two Improvement events a month, and the data shows that 35 events in the past year and a half have saved more than $3.

In addition to other lean, 6 million per year

Manufacturing improvements.

It's not always easy for a long time

Employees embrace the time to improve.

'We have some people who think the process cannot be improved,' said Kara Campbell, the improvement coordinator for mountain homes. soft-

Campbell started working at the factory 18 years ago and her face was framed with short curly hair.

She's one of two today.

team of individuals holding improvement events in a specially designed room with snacks and soda.

In order for the staff to sign up, Baxter promises that employees who find ways to eliminate work will not lose their jobs.

Instead, they will be transferred to another production line at the factory.

The essence of improvement is to reduce waste while improving quality.

The first improvement activity for shanjia is one of its oldest production lines.

On Monday morning, July 1999, 10 people gathered to discuss the problems in the cell --

Separation part consisting of IV bags, plastic pipes and plastic parts.

The line has not changed in about ten years, consisting of 24 employees, sitting in an oval position (

Think of a lazy susan)

Add a part to the assembly, place it on the tray on the track and forward it to the next employee.

Workers in the middle of the Oval provide parts and components to the workers in the outer face.

Participants first spent hours adapting to the concept of improvement.

Then they decided on the specifications of the product.

Called takt time--

How long does it take to make it--

And compare with the frequency of customer purchase.

They think customers buy a battery separator every 40. 4 seconds.

Then use the stopwatch to time every step of the line.

'It's surprising to find that some people have 30 seconds of work to do for each part, while others have only 20 seconds,' Campbell recalls . '.

Later on Tuesday, the group entered the room and began transferring equipment to improve the flow.

They moved some of the staff from the middle of Lazy Susan to one side.

They also moved tables for equipment and tools closer to the staff.

Each step in the process is reallocated so that each employee can complete nearly 40 steps.

4 seconds per unit-

Separator assembly.

Brainstorming shows that only 19 operators are needed to go online.

Productivity climbed 19%, saving Baxter $296,000 a year.

Another improvement activity focused on plant key injection --

Molding Machine area.

On 30 machines, Mountain Home makes more than 125 different plastic parts, each requiring a different mold

The house is as good as other plants.

But the shift is too long.

The Kaizen team took a day to monitor them and was shocked by their findings.

'We counted 53 different actions that technicians did,' Campbell said . '.

The group then created an pasta map showing the number of times workers criss-crossed

Change tools over the workspace.

It also followed him around and found that he had gone about a lap. 2 miles.

Establish a formal conversion program and hanging tools so that they can easily cut the conversion time by half to two hours.

The number of steps has been reduced from 53 to 24, and the operator is now only driving for half a mile.

The normal operating time of the machine is increased by 1,362 hours per year, saving a total of $213,000.

But with improvement, you will never sit back.

The factory is now considering doing another thing to further shorten the conversion time.

Feedback: jcreamer @ fortunemail. com.

Fortune magazine can find the story of the industrial management and technology sector. com/imt.

Executives in the manufacturing and research industries and others eligible for the Fortune Industrial edition can call 888-394-5472.


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