AB&I held a tour for sixteen Stanford University students on May 4th. The students are taking a course called Making Multiples: Sand Casting (ME365) which teaches howcastings are made in a mass manufacturing process.
General Manager Michael Lowe welcomed the students and talked to them about the history of AB&I and its operations as well as the challenges they face in Oakland. He invited the students to partner with AB&I on an upcoming project to find innovative ways AB&I can operate more efficiently.
Before leading the students on a tour of the foundry, Rich Watson and Dave Robinson discussed the production, engineering and environmental regulations and AB&I’s commitment to best practices that go above and beyond compliance. It was an eye opener for all of them to see how the different processes work together to make the finished products.
In a note to AB&I the professor said, “I just wanted to send a quick thank you note for our tour last Friday! We were blown away by the scale of production being done. Thank you for being so welcoming and taking the time to show us everything. I know the students were very impressed and are very excited about their new cast iron frying pans! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you all in the future.”
Team members at M&H Valve are happy to report that they finally received a new Box Car Special Forklift. It wasn’t that they couldn’t afford it or couldn’t get approval to purchase the equipment, but the main reason for the delay is that they didn’t know what would work best in their day-to-day operations and special functions such as set-ups.
After several conversations, surfing the internet, and trying out different things, they came up with a Box Car Special Forklift with an 8,000 pound capacity, a short wheel base for maneuvering and extended forks to complete set ups. Most importantly, this forklift eliminates some safety concerns they had.
Not all things purchased cost an arm and a leg, but they can very well save those critical limbs. The safety stands were purchased and put in place to be used as blocks with lock-out/tag-out procedures to ensure the mold can’t come down while the operator is cleaning the machine. The forklifts are very easy to use by simply screwing out the jack to the desired length and are lightweight for easy handling. They also eliminate the need to use several 4” x 4” pieces of wood for different size molds.
Another change that was recently made in the Wedge Coat area at M&H was the addition of a vending machine. It’s not the normal vending machine you may be thinking about, either. This vending machinedispenses operating supplies and safety equipment such as gloves, knives, batteries, markers, and tape – just to name a few of the 23 items it holds. The machine eliminates the need to buy cards and inventory these items in bulk. Fastenal monitors it via the Internet and automatically fills the machine back up when levels reach the minimum. Operators have a four digit code that they can enter and can get basically anything they need without having to wait for someone it issue it out.
Weekly and monthly reports are automatically generated so they know exactly who, when, where, and how many of each item they are using. This makes for a much more efficient and productive operation.