Accuride Corporation's steel wheel plant in Henderson, KY, was presented with a 2014 Manufacturing Excellence Award recently by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) — recognizing its continuous improvement efforts, best practices, creativity, and innovation. The plant, in operation for 40 years, processes cast-steel wheels for heavy trucks at a rate of more than 10,000 units per day.
Recently Accuride completed $6-millon updating the coating operation for wheels at Henderson, installing a three-phase process that applies a zinc phosphate, an electrocoated epoxy, and a powder coating surface treatment to combat. The proprietary process was developed by Accuride and an unnamed “channel partner” to combat corrosion on truck wheels.
Accuride produces cast steel and forged aluminum wheels for the commercial vehicle market, as well as a wheel-end components and cast iron parts for agricultural, construction and mining, and oil-and-gas industry equipment.
In addition to the Accuride and Accuride Wheel End Solutions business units, it includes Brillion Iron Works and Gunite.
The Kentucky operation also is home to Accuride’s North American wheels research and development, product development and testing facilities.
AME is a non-profit organization that promotes “continuous improvement and enterprise excellence” among volunteer members, who work via workshops, plant tours, webinars, summits, and conferences, to identify and implement new continuous-improvement strategies and best practices.
The selection process for the Manufacturing Excellence Award starts an extensive achievement report based on the AME Manufacturing Excellence Award evaluation criteria. The report is evaluated by the AME Award assessment team, and operations that lead the scoring are visited by a volunteer team of manufacturing representatives who undertake a 1.5-2-day visit to the plant sites, to validate the details of the achievement report.
The combined results of the report and the site visit are ranked in order to identify the plants that receive the annual Manufacturing Excellence Award.
"Although a significant number of companies submit applications for these awards, only a select few make it through to our final round of considerations," stated AME president Paul Kuchuris. “AME Manufacturing Excellence Award recipients are truly a class above the rest. When you see these facilities in person, you're witnessing the pinnacle of operational excellence in action."
The AME assessment team noted that the Henderson operation exhibited an impressive commitment to implementing enterprise excellence at all levels, and emphasized the plant’s dedication to performance improvement through foundational adjustments.
"The plant has made a major commitment to raise its level of performance and have chosen many of the principles of the lean enterprise as the foundation for driving the business," the assessors noted.
AME presented the award at an event in Henderson on September 18. The company also will be recognized during the 2014 AME International Excellence Inside Conference in November. Plants operated by Ethicon, NovAtel Inc., and Ventana Medical Systems Inc. also will be recognized.
“Accuride is deeply honored to have our Henderson Operations steel wheel plant chosen as a 2014 AME Manufacturing Excellence Award recipient,” stated Accuride President and CEO Rick Dauch. “This recognition demonstrates our Henderson team’s dedication to continuous improvement and the results that can be achieved when a manufacturing facility wholeheartedly embraces the principles of lean manufacturing.”