Advanced Ceramics, a supplier of pyrolitic born nitride powders and
chemical vapor deposited (CVD) products, located in Lakewood, Ohio,
started its lean journey toward lean manufacturing over 5 years ago. The
starting point was in the CVD vacuum furnace area where they were
experiencing a capacity shortfall due to increased customer orders.
Actions: WINOC organized a series of lean manufacturing workshops for a
cross-functional team made-up of furnace crew members, engineering,
maintenance and finishing personnel. The workshops introduced lean
manufacturing principles, in the 8 forms of waste, process mapping, and 4
primary tools for becoming lean; 5S, Setup and Changeover Reduction,
Error Proofing, and Total Productive Maintenance. The team chose their
mantra of “Finding the Invisible Furnace” to describe their plans to increase
furnace production. The furnace production operates 24/7. Each furnace
crew accepted responsibility for a particular task associated with becoming
lean. Their journey began with three teams working at implementing “5S”,
a system for creating and maintaining an organized, clean, and safe
workplace. A fourth team analyzed all tasks associated with furnace
reduction time identifying non-value added tasks.
Results: During the 5S initiatives, team members discarded all obvious
trash, which amounted to emptying a 60 cubic foot container, over 20 times.
Over 65 items were “red tagged” in the furnace work area and returned to
their proper department. Racks and shelves were installed. Supply cabinets
were labeled and organized. The team developed a rolling shadow tool
cart so all tools were ready for use when needed. Non-value added
processes were identified between power-off and -on including 12-hour
heat ups, leak checks, and 24-hour cool downs. Over 15 months, CVD’s
total furnace capacity increased the equivalent of an invisible furnace.
For more information on our work with Advanced Ceramics, or other WINOC clients,
please contact Dee Holody, Business Development Executive, at 330-725-4885 or