Temcor, a designer and manufacturer of architectural and environmental structures and enclosures, has a long history with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. In 2000, when the company moved its manufacturing plant from California to Rincon, Ga., lean specialists with the Enterprise Innovation Institute developed an improved, one-directional flow layout for the facility and subsequently conducted an energy assessment and a lean manufacturing assessment.
In 2006, Temcor called on Georgia Tech again for assistance in assessing new machinery.
“After the economic downturn in 2001, business picked back up for us and we saw about a 50 percent growth in our business over the previous four years,” recalled Leland Sanders, vice president of manufacturing for Temcor. “We realized that without additional machinery we weren’t going to be able to increase our production capacity and grow the company.”
At the time, Temcor had just landed a five-building deal with Hyundai Steel in Korea, the largest contract in company history and one that would require significant additional productivity. The metal extrusions were processed on a vertical mill that required four setups and was unable to run other components simultaneously. Temcor also needed redundancy and increased capacity in processing sheet metal components.
Tom Sammon, a project manager with the Enterprise Innovation Institute, set up a line that would efficiently cut Temcor’s triangular aluminum sheets, evaluated the company’s processes and developed a number of machinery alternatives from which to choose. He even developed a design for a piece of automated metalworking equipment.
“We started talking about plasma cutting machines, and Tom came up with some basic designs of a machine that we could possibly build ourselves with the use of some sub-contractors. The concept was a good one, but it wasn’t quite automated enough to suit our needs,” said Sanders. “So we took what Tom provided for us in terms of technical specs of a plasma cutting system and started talking to machine manufacturers that specialize in plasma cutting systems.”
Temcor eventually purchased a plasma machine that cuts the sheet metal with an electric current without ever actually touching the surface. This machine, which can cut metal as large as 10 feet wide and 30 feet long, has augmented the sheet metal router providing not only increased production capacity but also redundancy that had previously been lacking. Sanders also purchased an additional high performance computer numerical control (CNC) routing system to address his extrusion milling and drilling needs and facilitate redundancy to the vertical milling center.
“I can do about 70 percent more work today than I could two years ago before we actually installed these two machines. We were able to grow the company 35 percent in 2006 and another 35 percent in 2007,” Sanders said. “This additional production capacity allowed us to bring in the largest contract in Temcor’s history – Hyundai Steel – as well as maintain another one of our major customers, CTS in the Netherlands.”
Sanders estimates a number of other impacts as a result of Temcor’s work with Georgia Tech. He says eight to 10 new jobs have been created, costs have been cut in half in one area of production, sales have increased by 22 percent and setup and changeover times have been reduced by 50 percent.
“Even though I didn’t implement exactly what Tom had envisioned when we were working together, his concepts were fantastic and rather than building the machine right here in the facility, it seemed more cost effective to go out and buy a machine,” he said. “The folks I’ve worked with at Georgia Tech are very professional, very knowledgeable and very cost-effective. Temcor would not be as successful as the company is today had we not utilized the expertise of the staff at Georgia Tech.”
Temcor’s product line is primarily clear-span domes and related buildings fabricated mostly from aluminum. Temcor structures, which are in 70 countries around the world, are used for covering tank facilities as well as for architectural structures such as arenas, gymnasiums, theaters and auditoriums.
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Writer: Nancy Fullbright