When Batesville Products Inc. set an 18% growth sales target in 2015, the full-service aluminum foundry in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, identified a potential obstacle to reaching the goal: scheduling of permanent mold casting operations.
BPI, which has 87 employees at two locations, contacted Purdue University’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership for help. The Purdue team, led by an industrial engineering graduate student, developed a winning solution.
“Through modeling the operations, its processes and the costs, an algorithm was developed that found a more optimal schedule,” says Len Weber, president/COO of BPI. “Using the schedule model optimizer, the sales growth target was met, time spent on scheduling by the general manager has been reduced significantly, and foundry utilization metrics have improved 30%. The economic impact of these improvements has been positive, and we expect it to continue over the coming years.”
Benefiting from the Purdue partnership, Batesville Products was able to:
- Investigate the foundry process thoroughly.
- Develop a scheduling tool for the foundry process to minimize the completion time to meet due dates and to maximize the utilization of the workforce.
- Improve productivity by 30% through increased pounds poured per worker hours.
- Reduce foundry rejects by 50%.
- Schedule a process that has allowed better labor and inventory management.
“Through our partnership with Purdue’s MEP program, we were able to substantially improve our foundry productivity,” Weber says. “Purdue engineered a solution from the beginning. The Purdue industrial engineering graduate student who led the project had a sharp mind, was a quick study and was very intuitive. I would highly recommend any Indiana-based manufacturer to investigate the Purdue MEP program. Our ability to meet our growth goals has been substantially improved through our relationship with this high-caliber team.”
Batesville Products was founded in 1944 as Batesville Ornamental Works. Justin Weber joined BPI in the early 1960s and acquired controlling interest. A job
shop that operates a polishing and machine shop in addition to the aluminum/zinc foundry, BPI supplies complex castings complete and ready to assemble
into their customers’ production lines. The company services 61 different industries, with 15 markets making up 90% of the sales. BPI’s employees include
five second-generation and four third-generation family members.
“We’re in almost every industry,” says Tim Williams, sales analyst. “Lighting is one of our biggest areas. Medical accounts for about 30% of our business. Each area of the company services several different industries.”Download PDF