Adhesives Manufacturer Taps Georgia Tech’s Resources for Energy Savings

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. 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.

In Calhoun, Ga., the 23 Bostik employees operate on a smaller scale, but they still need 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. EI2 offers Georgia manufacturers a three-step program to identify and implement operations for immediate energy cost savings, adopt a system of best practices to sustain energy cost reductions and assist with certification in ANSI/MSE 2000-2008, a national standard for energy management adopted by the American National Standards Institute.

“The level of expertise and the availability make the Enterprise Innovation Institute a valuable resource for any company,” Conetta said. “We needed to move to a more sustainable mode of operation, and wanted to use energy conservation as a means to justify a four-day, ten-hour work week schedule.”

Jessica Brown, an energy specialist with EI2, 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.

“The Calhoun facility was using outdated and inefficient T12 fluorescent bulbs to light the office areas,” Brown explained. “T8 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts produce equivalent light output with less power input and have become the standard for new fixtures and retrofits in this application.”

According to Conetta, the results of Brown’s assistance have been significant: Bostik has reduced its energy consumption by an estimated 56 percent, saving $40,000. 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.

Conetta also notes that the energy audit yielded non-monetary results: a “cultural shift” towards energy reduction awareness and a reduced corporate energy footprint.

“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,” noted Conetta. “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.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

About Industrial Assessment Centers:
Industrial Assessment Centers – like the one based in Georgia at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute – provide energy, waste and productivity assessment at no charge to small and mid-sized manufacturers. Assessments help manufacturers maximize energy efficiency, reduce waste and improve productivity. On average, recommended actions from an assessment result in annual cost savings of $55,000. The assessments are performed by teams of engineering faculty and students from more than 26 participating universities across the country. Work is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Lean Consortium Expands to North Georgia

The Georgia Tech Lean Consortium, a forum for organizations to advance their knowledge and effective use of lean principles, is expanding into northeast and northwest Georgia. Organizations from any economic sector – including manufacturing, service, government or health care – are welcome if they have a vision for lean within their organization, a strategy and commitment to its implementation and successful experiences to share with the consortium.

Lean principles are a set of tools widely used in manufacturing to help identify and steadily eliminate waste from an organization’s operations. Already, 11 south metro Atlanta companies and 17 Augusta area companies are participating in the Lean Consortium through shared training and peer-to-peer relationships.

Member companies rotate hosting the group at their facility, where they present their vision for lean and the challenges and successes to date. After a plant tour, the group provides feedback to identify areas of success, as well as opportunities for further improvement. Members are also offered exclusive training classes in areas that they help to select.

“The Lean Consortium here in Augusta has provided an excellent opportunity for me to exchange ideas and learn about best practices at other manufacturing facilities in my local area,” said Chuck Sabo, quality and safety manager at Purification Cellutions in Waynesboro, Ga. “The consortium allows this to be done without the need to invest in costly travel and I have found my colleagues at other companies to be very open with both their successes and failures.”

To learn more about the Georgia Tech Lean Consortium, please contact Larry Alford (404-895-5237); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@drofla.yrral) or visit www.gtlean.org.

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office

Enterprise Innovation Institute

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (ude.hcetag.etavonninull@noot.nhoj).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright

Cabinet Maker Moves Business Forward with Georgia Tech Assistance

Andy Helm (left) and David Apple (right) discuss a new plant layout with Jonathan White, vice president of Economy Cabinets.

Fourteen years ago, father-and-son team Charlie and Greg White started Economy Cabinets, Inc. with three employees in a rented space the size of a garage. Today the White, Ga.-based company — which has expanded its original plywood cabinet product to include wholesale birch, oak, maple and poplar cabinets — is located in a 15,000-square-foot facility and employs 12 people. This summer, Economy will move into a 30,000-square-foot building across the street from its current location.

“We’ve had really rapid growth in the past couple of years, and our company has more than doubled in size,” noted Jonathan White, the company’s vice president. “I don’t have a background in engineering or manufacturing, and I really wanted our business to be poised for growth once we moved into the new facility.”

To address this challenge, White sought the counsel of David Apple, northwest Georgia region manager with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. White asked for assistance implementing lean management principles, a set of tools widely used in manufacturing to help identify and steadily eliminate waste from an organization’s operations.

Apple developed a plant layout for both the current and future facilities, an activity that pointed out opportunities for improving efficiency. By timing all of the individual steps in making cabinets, he identified a time spike on gluing and sanding doors.

“All of the individual processes were taking one or two minutes, and when we got to the putty and sanding, the time required was over seven minutes. It was astronomical,” White recalled. “We knew we had to solve that, so I found a new cutting tool that eliminated the need for putty and sanding. It cut that final step down to less than two minutes.”

White also attended Georgia Tech’s lean boot camp, a four-day class that teaches participants how lean impacts profit, lead-time, inventory, quality and customer service. By the end of the course, White was able to map both current and future value streams, identify appropriate techniques for improvement, develop a lean strategy for Economy and plan the application of specific lean techniques.

The first area he tackled was 5S, a philosophy of organizing and managing the workspace with the intent to improve efficiency and safety.

“The visual cues and 5S and having everything in its place – all of that was a novel idea to my employees when we started and now it’s just a way of life,” White said. “Before the lean boot camp, I understood some of the lean concepts, but I didn’t get the big picture. Now I understand it.”

White implemented visual cues to assist with re-ordering the company’s saw blades. Prior to implementing this tool, White would work directly with the person sharpening his saw blades, guessing which machines needed new blades and distributing them to the floor himself. Now, the vendor merely visits a tool board on which the blades needing to be sharpened are hung by employees. This allows him to basically service the entire shop himself.

“This was a hidden waste. It’s a huge waste when you have a saw down for two hours, while someone goes to get a new blade because you ran out of sharp blades,” Apple observed. “Now, the operator always has a sharp blade available when it’s needed, it eliminates searching for a blade he doesn’t have, and it eliminates buying unneeded, new blades.”

Although the cabinet industry overall has suffered a 15 percent business decline this year, sales for Economy Cabinets are up by 10 percent. Through attrition, the workforce at Economy Cabinets has decreased by five employees, but White says that his company’s productivity has increased by 20 percent and inventory has been reduced by 15 percent.

Economy Cabinets has also received assistance from e2e Works, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute that helps entrepreneurs in the state of Georgia.

Andy Helm, an entrepreneur outreach specialist with e2e Works, continues to assist Economy Cabinets by providing expertise in business management practices, technical assistance and access to a variety of industry-specific resources. E2e Works entrepreneur outreach specialists are charged with helping existing entrepreneurs and startup companies in rural Georgia grow their businesses.

“The efficiencies that Jonathan has gotten through the plant have allowed him to meet delivery times that his competitors can’t, and that’s a huge competitive advantage in this industry,” said Helm. “It’s that customer service that keeps his clients coming back.”

White also credits being able to meet deadlines and increase efficiency to having a committed workforce. By offering workers a four-day, 40-hour work week and monetary incentives for meeting goals, he has also seen a dramatic difference in the company’s turnover rate.

“We’re grateful to Andy and David and Georgia Tech for the impact they’ve made on the company,” he said. “Lean is a journey; it’s something you do every day.”

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Research News & Publications Office
Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986); E-mail (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

Writer: Nancy Fullbright