Mabry Castings Ltd. in Beaumont, TX, reports it has adopted Lean Manufacturing philosophies and principles to increase the competitiveness and improve its customer service, and recently completed a “lean kaizen” project in its finishing department.
“Kaizen” is Japanese term meaning "continuous improvement,” and involves a thorough review of tasks and functions, from management to workers, to eliminate waste. It is a technique used in the adoption of Lean Manufacturing, which is a managerial approach that aims to minimize the expenditure of resources except to create value for the customer.
Mabry Castings produces gray iron and ductile iron castings for a wide range of customers, including manufacturers in oil/gas drilling, waterworks, agriculture, automotive aftermarket, construction, marine, machine tool, gear, ATV, rail, transit, and off-road vehicle segments. The foundry is a subsidiary of Advanced Metals Group L.L.C.
Iron castings are produced in green sand on Hunter 20 and Hunter 32 molding machines, and an air set no-bake molding line. Castings range in size from 5 to 3,500 lbs.
Among the changes in the finishing department, Mabry installed better lighting, ergonomic workstations, and more efficient chain hoists. Also, it has increased its use of drop-bottom casting hoppers, which has resulted in a better material flow of castings, improved material handling, and reduced delivery times.
Mabry Castings reports it expects to improve lead times for up to 25% to its customers from the lean techniques incorporated in this kaizen project.
According to statement by the foundry managers, “this is just one of many lean initiatives to be undertaken and the great success of this lean project solidifies our strong belief in a continuous improvement business approach.”