NCGrowth continued lean manufacturing projects with P & A Industrial Fabrications

By Varun Nair

NCGrowth continued the partnership with P&A Industrial Fabrications by assisting with system automation projects. P&A is a manufacturer of premium woven fabrics and is based out of Roxboro, NC. They primarily manufacture paint roller fabrics for companies such as Sherwin Williams and heel pad fabrics for automobile manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. All the products of P&A are manufactured in USA.

The team at P&A have done extensive research and formulated an algorithm which gives an optimal schedule for their loom production planning. This schedule reduces the Work in Progress (WIP) and minimizes the total throughput time, thereby maximizing the profits. The challenge faced by the factory manager was that the data generated by the system was in a raw form which was not interpretable. A significant amount of time of the manager was wasted to convert the raw data into a readable schedule. NCGrowth assisted P&A in creating a tool which automates this process. This application reads the raw data and converts the same into a readable schedule. It also highlights the orders that are critical or of high risk.

Using old specifications was resulting in high level of quality non-conformances. The objective behind the project was to store all the specifications in a secure database and to display the same on the floor with the help of a touch-screen. This will help to roll-out specification changes instantly across the system, thereby eliminating the odds of using old specifications.

Another part of this project was to eliminate the use of paper medium to record quality metrics. On every shift, the operator writes the quality related data on a sheet and the same is then entered the next day onto the system by a Clerk. The limitation of the system was the lack of product traceability and discrepancies in the data. With the help of this database application, the operator will be able to enter the quality data directly into the database using a touch screen. This eliminates the non-value-added activity of data entry by the Clerk. The quality occurrence report is generated automatically by the application thus enabling the manger to focus on other jobs at hand.

Varun Nair is an NCGrowth Analyst and Industrial and Systems Engineering Graduate student at North Carolina State University

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NCGrowth continued the partnership with P&A Industrial Fabrications by assisting with system automation projects.