NAPIM Manufacturing Symposium Examines Process and Variation

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.09.09

Ideas such as Six Sigma, Total Predictive Maintenance, 5S process improvement, Lean Manufacturing and gage repeatability and reproducibility, have all become keys to reducing costs and becoming more efficient

Ideas such as Six Sigma, Total Predictive Maintenance, 5S process improvement, Lean Manufacturing and gage repeatability and reproducibility, have all become keys to reducing costs and becoming more efficient.

With that in mind, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers focused its 2002 NAPIM Manufacturing Conference on these and other related topics during ICE 2002.

The symposium started on Monday with a plant tour at Cabot Corporation, followed by one and a half days of talks centered on variation and product consistency. Joe Cichon, chair of NAPIM’s symposium and senior vice president of product and manufacturing technology at INX International Ink Co., discussed these in his talk, “An Overview of Variation and Its Impact on Production Quality and Efficiency.”

Mr. Cichon first paraphrased Edwards Deming’s comment, “If I had to reduce my message to management to just a few words, I’d say it all had to do with reducing variation.” Mr. Cichon then discussed the absolute importance of providing consistency.

Mr. Cichon highlighted two causes of variation: assignable causes, in which the company has to find the cause and eliminate it, without changing the process, and common cause, in which the process itself needs to be changed.

“Consistency is a key attribute of quality,” Mr. Cichon said. “Every lot should be exactly the same. The customer knows what he needs, and we have to make it for him every time. In order to understand and eliminate variation, we must measure it.”

Duane Ness, director of quality, environmental safety and health at Flint Ink Corporation, spoke on “Assessing Measurement Capability – Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility.” Mr. Ness stressed the importance of controlling the measurement process.

“A person who is looking for continuous improvement is looking for the truth,” Mr. Ness said. “We depend and rely upon data rather than opinions.”

Bruce Hayes, Sigma Breakthrough Technologies, Inc., discussed “Six Sigma – What is It?” He pointed to Motorola’s stated savings of $14 billion since implementing Six Sigma in 1987 and noted that nearly 200 out of the Fortune 500 companies are using Six Sigma.

“It is not a quick fix,” Mr. Hayes said. “It is an integrated part of a management system.” He said that Six Sigma can be applied to diverse areas such as manufacturing, sales, engineering, distribution, finances, human resources and other areas.

To show the impact of Six Sigma, Tom Lyons, process engineer at Sun Chemical GPI, gave a presentation on “Applying Six Sigma Principles to Ink Manufacturing.” He discussed a specific Six Sigma project in which the company sought to reduce the cycle time of its blue base manufacturing at its liquid ink motherplant to accommodate demand. By doing so, the company was able to reduce overtime and higher capital expense while increasing profits.

Mr. Lyons walked the attendees through the traditional DMAIC (define-measure-analyze-improve-control) steps, and reported that Sun Chemical achieved its goals through collecting and analyzing data.

After lunch at Emeril’s, the session reconvened with “Operational Excellence and 5S,” by John McNeil of GP DeltaPoint. Mr. McNeil said that 5S is one of the Lean Manufacturing methods, and defined 5S as a “visually-oriented system of cleanliness, organization and arrangement designed to facilitate greater productivity, safety and quality.” He then analyzed the 5Ss: sorting, simplifying, systematic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining. John Ballis of FlowCycle closed the session with “Lean Manufacturing,” an overview of that system.

On Wednesday, Manuel Baerga, Action Solutions Group, Div, of TPM Unlimited LLC, spoke on “Total Predictive Maintenance,” which centered on training people to become equipment knowledgeable, creating well-engineered equipment, establishing a creative environment and maximizing overall equipment effectiveness. Roger Brown of Work Performance Services, closed the session with “Improving Your Profitability.”

Conference officials said the symposium went very well, with attendance up from last year’s inaugural event.

“We had some good speakers covering all aspects in the improvement of manufacturing processes,” said Mr. Cichon. “This interest is directly related to cost reduction and process improvement in the manufacturing process, which is essential.”

“It went very well,” said James Coleman, NAPIM’s executive director. “The response was very positive. We saw people from the manufacturing side who we don’t normally see, and we look forward to further developing these symposiums.”

Mr. Coleman credited the FSCT for its help. “We enjoy working with the FSCT. They make our job easier,” he said.

In addition to Mr. Cichon, the symposium committee includes Craig Tompkins of Sun Chemical, Dennis Cavner of Flint Ink, Wayne Bice of Color Converting Industries and Jim Bailen of INX International, Mr. Coleman and George Fuchs of NAPIM.