Foundry business, MRT Castings, shares how it upgraded its in-house green screen system to keep up with the firm’s growth and diversification.
Family owned and run since 1947, MRT Castings is a highly successful and rapidly growing foundry business. Unlike traditional foundries, MRT offers a variety of casting processes from sand and gravity die castings through to complex high pressure castings for order sizes ranging in batches from between 5 and 50,000.
Managing director Phil Rawnson explains the many challenges facing the business. “We have a huge variety in the nature and size of orders. This is compounded by the range of complexity involved, from 2 to 30+ process steps, which can see a given casting resource tied up for anything between 2 hours and 2 weeks.”
In addition to the resulting scheduling complications the company has to deal with the unknowns inherent in the very nature of casting itself.
Further challenges come in the form of optimising set-up times, managing incoming/outgoing subcontracted orders, tools which wear at different rates, as well as routine and unpredicted maintenance.
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MRT’s 20 year old, in-house green screen system couldn’t keep up with the company’s growth and diversification which, when coupled with increasing customer demand for greater traceability, quality control and responsiveness, led to a visit to a trade show, a review of several systems and a quick, positive decision for EFACS E/8.
“In the end, only EFACS E/8 offered us the flexibility and customisation that we were looking for,” explains Rawnson. “Everything else would have required us having to change our processes to fit a prescribed way of working and that simply wasn’t an option for us.”
Central to the many benefits already achieved are the increased visibility and increased capacity utilisation across the entire business. “Real-time data is now accessible to every team member, wherever they need it and at the level they require,” comments Rawnson.
Now not only can the impact of taking on a new order be seen at a production planning and scheduling level, EFACS E/8 can also help determine the competitive advantage of potentially investing in a new plant asset and/or taking on additional staff.
At the heart of delivering this visibility is the implementation of touchscreen/barcoding hardware throughout the shopfloor and integrating this with EFACS E/8. This has removed a huge paper trail from the shopfloor as well as the potential data duplication/variation issues inherent in previous manual paper systems.
It has also made it possible to track and know the location of every order, even when this is physically split at different locations across the business which is especially important for more complex orders involving different subassemblies and bought-in components.
The cumulative benefit is that in the past year alone, MRT has doubled output with a much smaller increase in resources while reducing lead times by 30% and achieving an overall reduction in its time to market for new products.
“Looking forward,” says Rawnson, “we expect to see even faster change and greater pressures and we have every confidence that the scalability and flexibility of EFACS E/8 will help us meet and overcome these challenges.