MANITOWOC CRANES WELDING CASE STUDY
A stronger process creates a stronger relationship
Having served Manitowoc Cranes, a global producer of task-specific cranes, for years as their industrial-gas supplier, Praxair wanted to prove its commitment to this customer in new ways. Understanding the challenges facing metal fabricators, such as productivity and environmental regulations, Praxair conducted a StarSolver® Productivity Survey at Manitowoc’s Shady Grove, PA facility. The results not only created a stronger manufacturing process for Manitowoc, but also strengthened the two companies commercial relationship.
Expanding our service brings new life
In May of 2011, Manitowoc had just renegotiated its contract with Praxair as the supplier of bulk and cylinder gases. Having been their supplier for some time, we were looking for new ways to expand and strengthen the relationship. Knowing that welding is an intricate part to their metal fabrication process, we suggested conducting a StarSolver Productivity Survey at their Shady Grove, PA production facility.
The StarSolver Productivity Enhancement Program was designed to accurately analyze a facility’s welding costs and, where appropriate, recommend process changes to improve production performance. From key process variables to welding techniques, we set to work reviewing every aspect of their welding operation. We identified key areas where welding-process improvements could bring them significant savings, including: gas consumption reduction, pipeline leak correction, bulk wire conversion, and implementation of the Tandem MIG process in one fixed automation weld cell. In many of these areas savings could be achieved though simple changes. For instance, changing the flow rate in their regulators by 4 psi would save the facility about $15,000 a year. And by purchasing their wire in bulk wire packs instead of spools, Shady Grove could reduce annual costs by $107,545. All totalled, the survey found that improvements in these areas could save the facility over $300,000 annually.
Creating a successful future, together
Since conducting the initial audit and implementing the identified changes, our relationship with Manitowoc has expanded to include a similar effort at their manufacturing facility in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Our initial efforts at this plant have focused primarily on opportunities surrounding plate processing and evaluating robotic weld automation of one of the key components of their production. We are currently working closely with production personnel to design a robotic welding cell that could help Manitowoc achieve significant welding time improvements.
The level of service, attention, and success even helped us earn Manitowoc’s Indirect Supplier of the Year award.