PENINSULA, Ohio—Eagle Elastomer Inc. is constantly looking for ways to improve its efficiency.
The Peninsula-based custom mixer has found success by employing automation in a variety of areas throughout its operation, which also includes an extrusion and sheet products business.
Eagle operates out of a 41,200-sq.-ft. site with 47 full-time employees. Its business is focused on fluoroelastomer products with more than 600 formulations in its library.
"We also do a lot of different batches," President Regan McHale said during a tour of the firm's facility for the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers. "There could be five or six different compounds in a given day that are running through the mixer."
Which is one of the reasons why the firm looks so closely at how often its lines—both on the mixing and extrusion side—change compounds. Eagle tries to minimize those changeovers to be as efficient as possible, grouping as many like-compounded jobs together so they can run continuously.
"You lose your efficiency if you're trying to do a lot of different compounds," said Neil McHale, vice president of operations. "We try to make sure we minimize the amount of compound changes. If we have work orders all for one compound, we try to run those at the same time before we go to the next one. Otherwise you're going back and forth, and you lose efficiency."
The way it keeps tabs on those changeovers is through its daily operations monitoring reports—which are designed for the tooling and production staffs to monitor and plan Eagle's production process. Neil McHale said that previously, this process was tedious and required multiple reports to be compiled together. It was limited in its ability, not user friendly and information often wasn't readily available.
So Eagle decided to enhance and automate it.
The program now runs after hours and doesn't require any printing, saving paper. It generates one report in an easy-to-use format that outlines the firm's key operational metrics—efficiency and utilization of production lines, status of production work orders, late deliveries from vendors, supplies and raw materials, and daily scrap.