New Storage System Helps Drive Success At Transmission Plant

Tremec (Queretaro, Mexico) is a large auto parts business that produces manual transmissions and transmission equipment for high performance vehicles and small trucks in its 93,000-square-meter facility. Among its main products are five models of four- and five-speed manual transmissions, along with a variety of spare parts for transmissions and other automotive systems.

Case Study From: 4/15/1999 Modern Machine Shop

Tremec (Queretaro, Mexico) is a large auto parts business that produces manual transmissions and transmission equipment for high performance vehicles and small trucks in its 93,000-square-meter facility. Among its main products are five models of four- and five-speed manual transmissions, along with a variety of spare parts for transmissions and other automotive systems.

Lately, Tremec has experienced a great deal of growth, which unfortunately has caused inefficiency in the central storage area and tool pre-setting areas (machine shop), two primary areas of the facility.

The increase in the company's customer base—and as a result, its revenue base—took a serious toll on the central storeroom, where increasing storage requirements were placing a burden on the company's internal organizational systems. Storeroom items were being kept in boxes and steel bins, all of which sat on open shelving. Parts became increasingly difficult to locate.

Things in the machine shop were not running much more smoothly. One problem was the storage of broach tools, one of the most critical items in Tremec's entire operation. These highly specialized tools, used to cut gears for the transmissions, are not only quite large but expensive as well ($15,000-$20,000 per unit).

Tremec determined that more flexible, space-efficient storage systems could help in organization and increase efficiency. ing 40 inches wide by 28 inches deep and incorporating drawers 80 inches in height. The wall protect the tools from potential damage, and also provides a high degree of safety for the employees, who cannot accidentally be injured by the tools.

Also in the pre-set area of the toolroom, industrial workbenches are used for assembly and disassembly of tools. Capable of withstanding the harsh work environment in Tremec's facility, the benches provide highly functional and aesthetically pleasing workstations. Drawer storage cabinets allow users to create customizable drawer compartments, providing maximum storage capacity while allowing easy access to work tools.

Mobile NC tool transporters safely store expensive cutting tools while giving employees the option of easily moving tools from job to job within the facility. Lista's computer cabinets have easy user access yet shield sensitive computer equipment from metal shards and other toolroom debris. Additional protection is generated through the use of an air intake fan.

A surge suppressor, roll-out tray and door opening to accommodate monitors up to 20 inches are also especially useful. The pull-out drawer is also designed for the unusually shaped ergonomic keyboards, while a rear panel simplifies access to power and computer cables.

Within the drawers, Tremec can store items of diverse size and shape, including inserts, components, various specialty tools, extensions and clamps; partitioning sets

The company turned to Lista International (Holliston, Massachusetts), a manufacturer of storage and workspace systems. According to Javier Carbajal, the equipment has become a major competitive advantage for the company.

"Lista worked closely with us to provide a complete storage and workspace solution that included storage walls, tool further enhance the drawers' storage flexibility. Drawers, which offer usable heights from 2 1/8 inches to 13 inches, allow all contents to be viewed. Each drawer features a maximum load capacity of 440 pounds, a necessity considering the weight of some of the tools used. And, Lista's PrevenTip interlock system allows only one drawer at a time to be extended, preventing the cabinets from tipping over.

The range of Lista equipment in the machine shop clearly helped return a sense of organization, which has translated to a number of critical benefits, including a positive impact on the company's bottom line. Tremec is currently using five- or six-row combinations of shallow-depth storage walls measuring 40 inches wide by 22 inches deep. Within the Storage Walls, the company stores a variety of items used on a daily basis, including mechanical, electrical and general maintenance equipment. Storage Walls are equipped with a large variety of drawers for storage of small parts and components, while roll-out trays facilitate access to the larger, heavier items.

Mr. Carbajal is also pleased that the modularity of the storage walls allows sections to be added as Tremec's space requirements continue to change. Tremec plans to add an additional mezzanine level to the storage walls, further expanding storage capacity and maximizing usage of available height.

"Our employees no longer have to worry about storage and organization," Mr. Carbajal said. "They can focus now on just doing their jobs. That puts everyone in a great frame of mind and creates an extremely positive atmosphere."

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