Innovation by Students

During the annual Manufacturer’s Summit, a special award ceremony is held to celebrate the most innovative businesses and leaders in the Inland Empire. These leaders have great ideas for growing the business, dramatically improving performance and addressing some of the toughest challenges in today’s manufacturing industry.

E=mc² Innovation Awards will be presented to local manufacturers who submit the best innovations that result in tangible business improvement.

Congratulations to our recent award winner!

2018 Innovation by Students


Website: https://www.hmc.edu/engineering/
Address: 301 Platt Blvd, Claremont, CA, 91711

Short summary:

A team of 4 students from Harvey Mudd College worked alongside Purosil, LLC, to transform Purosil’s formed hose manufacturing cell using lean techniques. This project helps Purosil remain economically competitive globally and retain jobs in the US. The project ran for 10 weeks from May 2017 to July 2017 and resulted in 70% reduction of weekly overtime and 70+% increase in daily throughput. The improvements amount to $0.5 Million of annual saving and over $2 Million increase in annual revenue.

Full Description of Project:

To understand the hose manufacturing process and identify problems and bottlenecks, the team performed time studies, operator and management interviews, and value stream mapping. The team came up with four major improvements:

  • Re-layout cell:

The team reorganized the originally messy cell into a tighter U-cell using creative geometric arrangements so that products could flow through the cell faster with minimal transportation and operators could communicate more conveniently. The new layout also freed up 390 sqft (37%) of floor space.

  • Implement single piece flow:

The team replaced the original batch-processing system with a single piece flow system to achieve faster manufacturing cycle time, better quality, more flexible scheduling, and lower inventory.

  • Reduce change-over time:

The team applied a range of technologies to speed up operator-taxing activities and remove production bottlenecks. Among other technologies, the team utilized a vertical carousel to automate material changing, and the team built an electronic inspection system to reduce inspection time by 75%.

  • Encourage progressive culture:

Through morning meetings, lean exercises, and work-side chatting with operators, the team encouraged the operators to embrace continuous improvement mindset. Towards the end of the project, the operators became invaluable sources of information and improvement ideas.

After completion of the project, the team presented the improvements to Purosil’s CEO, plant manager, and department managers. The improvements amount to $0.5 Million of annual saving and over $2 Million increase in annual revenue. These improvements help Purosil remain economically competitive globally and retain jobs in the US.