There is one certainty in urethane manufacturing and that is change. While it comes in a variety of forms, every business can count on change and must be able to adapt in order to remain competitive. Manufacturers can never get too comfortable or they risk becoming complacent. A business that is not growing and evolving over time is likely a business that is stagnant and dying. This is why a continuous improvement approach is vital to the health of manufacturing including urethane manufacturers like PSI Urethanes.
At PSI, we recently made several significant upgrades to our machine shop that we are excited to share with our customers. We pride ourselves on the utilization of cutting-edge technologies that enable us to create the best urethane products for our clients. Our team fosters a continuous improvement mind-set, and we never rest when it comes to quality. It is this commitment that has positioned PSI Urethanes as a strategic supplier to OEMs all over the world.
Why is a Continuous Improvement Culture So Critical?
The concept of continuous improvement is intertwined with lean manufacturing and seeks to identify and implement incremental improvements to an existing production process. Similar to lean practices, the goal of a continuous improvement approach is to remove waste and add value to operations through optimization across all levels of the organization – empowering personnel to actively engage in the improvement process.
Successful companies are never satisfied and always have their eye on the next innovation and next performance level. Even during the “good times”, these manufacturers are busy identifying how to make things even better. With the right mindset, continuous improvement becomes ingrained in the company culture and delivers several critical advantages that can make or break a business:
- Large Productivity Gains: incremental improvements that optimize operations and minimize waste typically yield more optimal equipment and labor utilization. This leads to huge productivity gains that positively impact speed to market, delivery timing, and customer satisfaction.
- Enhanced Quality: of the biggest benefits of continuous improvement is more streamlined processes that produce higher quality products. When downtimes and waste are eliminated and opportunities for error are minimized, manufacturers typically observe higher levels of customer service, efficiency, and quality.
- Optimized Resource Utilization: improvement often leads to more process automation. Computer operated equipment frees up personnel to focus on more important, value-add demands, better utilizing their talents and improving overall efficiency. There is often a concern that automation solutions will replace humans in the workforce. This, however, has not been the case historically as human personnel are still needed to oversee automated processes on the shop floor. In some cases, the use of automation in manufacturing has decreased costs significantly and given rise to reshoring. For more on this topic, read our article on the benefits of reshoring manufacturing to the U.S.
- Cost Savings: gains, optimized equipment and labor utilization, and increased quality of course lead to cost reductions. When it comes to manufacturing, operations staff are often the source of great improvement ideas that result in efficiency gains that further lower costs.
Looking for a urethane partner that is committed to continuous improvement and employing state-of-the-art technologies?
Contact the team at PSI to learn more about our custom urethane products and our latest machine shop upgrades.
PSI Urethanes’ Machine Shop Enhancements
The professionals at PSI are committed to using the latest urethane technologies, and our team is always looking for opportunities to improve our customer experience and exceed expectations. We believe upgrading our equipment and machinery is an investment in the future, and our recent machine shop enhancements are part of our continuous improvement culture.
We are always on the lookout for opportunities to incorporate new innovative machinery and automation into our current processes. One of our recent machine shop upgrades was replacement of our manual lathe and mill equipment with computer operated versions, namely a Haas VF3SS super speed mill and a Hyundai WIA L400MC Lathe. The primary purpose of these machinery enhancements was to increase our in-house molding capabilities and expand the current urethane machining options available to our customers.
Automated equipment is becoming more integral to manufacturing over time and offers urethane manufacturers significant advantages over traditional manual methods. For example, PSI’s computer operated machinery improves safety on the shop floor by distancing personnel from exposed machining components during operations. Safer operating conditions translate to fewer downtimes and lost work hours – resulting in increased efficiency.
In addition to increased safety, PSI’s machine shop upgrades also drive higher product quality. Computer operated machines are more precise and deliver higher quality than manual methods. Our machinery upgrades significantly reduce the possibility of operator error for machined parts, resulting in higher consistency and repeatability.
With our machine shop upgrades, PSI has the ability to machine urethane in ways that were not feasible with manual equipment. For example, we are now able to drop parts with multiple operations. Our machinery upgrades enable our team to create more complex parts as our machinery has 4- and 5-axis capabilities. In general, the more axes a machine can operate on, the more intricate geometries it can fabricate. Thus, 5-axis machinery is able to manufacture complex parts that may not be feasible with conventional machines – offering OEMs unparalleled design flexibility and versatility.
PSI’s machine shop enhancements also upgraded our mold making capabilities. We can now offer our customers even faster turnaround times on mold making. In addition, we can manufacture even larger molds than before: our dimensional capabilities have been expanded to 25″ wide and 70″ long on our mill.
Regarding our rollers, our machine shop upgrades made it possible to machine larger, longer, and heavier rollers. We have the ability to machine rollers with multiple operations in a single cycle, and we have the capability to more efficiently and rapidly create large volumes of grooves on the OD of rollers. Our maximum lathe turn length is now 82” with a 28” swing over bed.
About PSI Urethanes
Since 1966, through our own independent research and activity in the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association, PSI Urethanes has stayed on the leading edge of urethane technology – including developing advances in new materials, comprehensive designs, and processing technologies. Today we are among the most respected and trusted suppliers of custom urethane products.
We operate from our 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, which houses an extensive stock of polyurethane products. Our fully equipped manufacturing facility includes a versatile range of processing machinery, which allows us to work on unique, one-of-a-kind projects, as well as high volume components. Our in-house engineering, tooling, and custom mold shop, produces custom and stock production orders with exceptionally fast turn-around times. From conception to prototyping, to final production runs, our technical representatives and design engineers will work closely with your staff to meet your critical tolerances and specifications. You are guaranteed to receive experienced, professional, and personalized service from the first contact through your on-time delivery, with complete confidentiality and dedication to protecting your good name.
PSI Urethanes specializes in custom urethane products. Contact us today to see how we can help with your next project, or give us a call at 1-800-888-5156.