CEven though the Verson presses at Kasle Metal Processing are more than 20 years
old, software programmers still are able to use the presses’ controls to extract production information and create a fault-monitoring system that minimizes downtime.
software’s measurement capabilities to
be ignored, according to Robert
Hamilton, KMP’s operations manager.
“Certainly, you have to have the
right culture. You have to have the
attitude that you want to work and you
want to look at these tools,” he said.
Hamilton, who has been with KMP
slightly less than two years, embraced
the software upon his arrival.
“We raised the awareness of the system and what it was going to do for us
and what our expectations were. And
we held people accountable to that,”
The software—first installed at
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana
in Princeton, Ind.—has become a real-time window into operations and a
prime motivator for continual improvement. Here are some examples:
Visibility into the shop floor. What
you see on the screen—whether on the
shop floor monitor or on a front-office
latptop—is what is happening on the
shop floor. A graphic reproduction of
the lines, accessible through browsers
such as Internet Explorer and
Netscape, shows the viewer what part
is running and how the line is running.
Any number of operating specifications—such as uptime, gross strokes per
hour, and total efficiency—can be programmed to be part of the main view
The software is patched into the
controls operating the two lines.
Although the equipment is not new,
the software still is able to extract 90
percent of the information it needs
from the controls to prepare the real-time view and in-depth reports.
Woods said this real-time view
gives KMP management a true sense
of what is happening on the shop
floor. Automated data collection
ensures accurate reporting of production details and removes mistakes that can occur from manual
For those who like to take their
coil processing equipment, which is
more than 20 years old. Before the
slowdown in late 2006, KMP used its
equipment to produce 250,000 to
400,000 blanks per month, or 10,000 to
12,000 tons per month.
In addition to the inspecting techniques that ensure quality steel blanks
are being shipped to its automaking
customers, KMP also considers its ability to maintain a clean line, even with
washing and lubricant application, and
keep the line constantly running as
keys to its success. Woods said it’s one
of the main reasons Steel Technologies
Inc., Louisville, Ky., decided to jump
into automotive blanking with the
2006 acquisition of the 50 percent
Kasle interest in KMP.
Even before the change in ownership, however, KMP management realized it needed to diversify its customer
base. Having its future tied so closely to
one manufacturer did not make too
much sense in light of the company’s
strategic growth initiatives.
That has led to work with GM,
Springhill, Tenn., where the Saturn
vehicles are manufactured. KMP supplies the blanks for exposed and unexposed portions of the VUE® hood and
two versions of the right and left body
sides for the ION®. KMP also has gotten its foot in the door with Toyota’s
Georgetown, Ky., facility.
become more efficient toward the end
of 2005. It found an underutilized tool
in the company’s AIM Analytical
manufacturing software, and that discovery helped pave the way for a not-so-disastrous 2006.
Actually, the software had been
installed since the KMP plant first
opened, but it was not fully utilized
because the first year the plant basically was dedicated to getting the equipment running and doing what was necessary to ship blanks to customers.
KMP’s early managers may not have
completely bought into the belief that
the company could continually
improve its performance, leading the
CThe dry-erase board on the shop
floor is used to keep employees aware of
production goals and targeted efficiency
improvements. Often competition arises
between the two shifts to see which one
can register the biggest improvements,
with the winners rewarded for their
Some Software Help
Old customer requirements, new customer desires, and concerns to expand
the customer base—KMP needed to
The FABRICATOR | An FMA Publication
March 2007 | www.thefabricator.com