Vulcan GMS

March 14, 2012 09:00 ET

Vulcan GMS Improves Productivity in Die-Cutting

MILWAUKEE, WI--(Marketwire - Mar 14, 2012) - Vulcan GMS, Inc. (, a supplier of lead shielding products and tungsten radiation shielding, relies on lean techniques for efficient manufacturing. "We have lean initiatives underway at all times," said Tom Ray, Vulcan's President. "For example, six months ago our die-cutting department scrambled constantly to keep up with schedule changes. We needed to remove that pressure."

Plant Manager Joe Galaszewski was tasked with finding a way. "Die-cutting, a critical production step for many parts, was never a bottleneck. Nonetheless, employees were in constant motion responding to fluctuations in demand. For a solution, we turned to process mapping, starting with a clean slate. Since the problem was non-value-added motion, we focused on uncovering the root causes of that," he said.

Getting raw material was a major source of scrambling, so Vulcan redesigned the work cell to put the six most common material sizes right next to the work cell's cutter. That resulted in a 77 percent reduction in travel distance and associated travel time.

Getting cutting dies from bins in an adjacent bay was identified as another source of waste. The dies were moved into newly built racks in the cell. That resulted in a 72 percent reduction in travel distance and much less time spent searching for dies, as they were now all right at hand, clearly identified, and positioned for instant retrieval.

Getting required Quality Assurance checks was significantly improved by having the inspector come to the cell. That resulted in a 57 percent reduction in total part travel distance, as the operator and inspector now performed all inspections in the cell.

"By significantly reducing travel in and out of the work cell, we found it took only one operator, not two, to run the die-cutting operation. This freed up a highly cross-trained employee to move wherever there was work in the facility, giving an uptick to overall plant productivity," Galaszewski said.

About Vulcan GMS

Vulcan Global Manufacturing Solutions is a leader in custom-made x-ray protection products manufactured from lead, tungsten, high-density plastics and non-lead metal polymers. ISO 9001/2008 registered, Vulcan GMS is a provider of components and assemblies for some of the world's largest equipment makers. The company specializes in the medical, security, aviation and explosives industries.

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