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Good for the Environment, Good for the Company
Heath Tecna, Inc. (now part of Zodiac Aerospace) manufactures composite interior parts for airplanes cabins, flight decks and cargo bays. Since the early 1950s, they have engineered, built, and certified interior components for more than 6,000 aircraft around the globe. Today, more than 30% of operating aircraft with more than 100-passenger seats have Heath Tecna interior components installed. The Bellingham, Washington company employs around 450 people.
Interested in improving efficiencies and environmental impact, the company began work with Ecology and NIST MEP’s Impact Washington. They determined that lean training and four Lean and Green events would identify ways to minimize the amount of dangerous waste, scrap material, and defects in products.
The company had been buying a toxic anodizing product in bulk, but could not use it up before the product expired and had to be disposed. The Lean Team determined a solution, which translated to less product used and better protection for the environment. It also saved in purchase costs and reduced the company’s dangerous waste disposal costs. Next, the team analyzed how core sheets were cut into the needed parts. By using larger sheets and improving the layouts for many of the parts, they increased yield from each sheet and reduced the scrap. Reconfiguring the layout of the cutting templates made for more efficient use of materials. Finally, the team focused on defect reduction. They looked at non-conformance report data and determined which piece of equipment generated the majority of the defects. From this, they determined a way for the equipment to constantly monitor defects and quality and for defective sheets to be pulled from the manufacturing line.
The team also metered water use and found that the water pressure on the facility’s vacuum pumps was much higher than necessary. They installed a pressure regulator to optimize the water pressure while still meeting specifications. In addition, the company is realizing water and cost savings from installing low flow toilets and fixtures.
This program has proven financially and ecologically successful and I am proud of the work we have collectively achieved.
Angela Davis Manufacturing Engineering Manager / Heath Tecna, Inc.