Manufacturers in agriculture, mining, petroleum and other industries rely on centrifugal slurry pumps to move thick, particle-filled liquids. These heavy-duty pumps feature a rotating impeller that uses centrifugal force to move water and solids through pipelines over short and medium distances.
The big challenge for slurry pump manufacturers, design-wise, is to build them with the most durable and erosion-resistant parts possible. Less part wear means more pump uptime, better daily performance and lower energy expenditures by end-users.
On the delivery side, the main challenge is making sure that each customer gets its pump when promised, and not one day later. GIW Industries Inc.—a well-known designer and manufacturer of slurry pumps since 1914—was recently forced to take steps to better meet this latter challenge.
Early in 2015, the Grovetown, GA-based company had a 45 percent on-time delivery rate, with a product cycle time of 18 to 20 weeks and inventory turnover occurring every 4.5 weeks. Not happy with these numbers, GIW reps met with Synchrono Inc. to see if its software could improve one or all three areas.
GIW implemented SyncManufacturing software shortly thereafter. The demand-driven software collects and analyzes pattern information, engineering revisions and plant capacity to produce a schedule that is predictable and reliable, optimizes product flow and shortens cycle times. These benefits, in turn, lead to higher customer satisfaction and additional demand, especially in other markets, such as pumps for the oil sands in Canada.
To determine the feasibility of pursuing this market, GIW engineers again turned to SyncManufacturing. The software analyzed their three-year forecast regarding the market’s impact on plant capacity, and what additional capital equipment was necessary to support the forecast. In the end, the software concluded that limited labor would need to be added to support the identified growth, even with a 100 percent increase in revenue.
GIW management then presented these findings to KSB Inc., GIW’s parent company. The analysis was met with approval, and capital equipment was added to support the forecasted growth. Since then, GIW’s revenue has more than doubled.
Another company benefiting from SyncManufacturing software is Wenger Manufacturing, an engineer-to-order maker of commercial extrusion systems. Common products include industrial dryers, toasting ovens, mixers and shear conditioners for the cooking industry.
Late in 2013, the Sabetha, KS, company knew it had to reduce cycle time and get a handle on its production capacity to better meet customer needs. According to Brad Wenger, vice president of manufacturing, the company’s mixed product line often results in as many as 1,500 work orders on the floor at one time.
“We see change orders daily, and it was a difficult environment to keep stable,” admits Wenger. “We simply had no idea how much production capacity was on the floor.”
Wenger Manufacturing tested different types of software before settling on SyncManufacturing due to its dynamic scheduling and execution. These capabilities enabled the company to eliminate work-in-process (WIP) imbalances, uncoordinated actions and off-target tasks.
Within the first few months, WIP decreased by 15 percent. By 2017, on-time delivery increased to 95 percent from 40 percent, and Wenger returned to profitability for the first time in three years.
“If a part sales order comes in midday, it’s immediately prioritized into the shop floor,” says Wenger. “Getting that order out the same day might mean $10,000 cash to the bottom line and a very happy customer.”
For more information on demand-driven software, call 651-228-1772 or visit www.synchrono.com.