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Broadwater Mouldings expands its Composites Manufacturing facilities and reduces lead times

News International-French

29 Jul 2014

Broadwater Mouldings Ltd., has just completed the expansion of its manufacturing facilities at its main UK production site in Suffolk.

By spanning the open space between two existing production units an expanded single, interconnected, factory space has been created. The extended building has created an additional 1428 sq.m (15,370 sq.ft) of shop floor space, along with a new ‘all weather’ covered loading bay. This latest investment has taken the total factory area for Broadwater Mouldings to just under 7,500 sq.m (80,500 sq.ft), increasing the overall production space by over 20%.

The new factory space has been fitted out to a high specification to comply with the latest environmental, health and safety (EHS) standards. This includes a fire protection sprinkler system, fire containment doors, smoke detectors, heat retaining hi-speed exterior access doors, low energy LED lighting and an overhead crane for the safe and efficient handling of large components. The upgrading of the factory with the new extension has helped Broadwater Mouldings attain a Suffolk Carbon Charter 2014 Bronze Award for reduced energy consumption across the entire business.

This additional factory space has enabled the management team at Broadwater Mouldings to reorganise key production areas to improve overall work flows and productivity, as well as installing much needed additional space and capacity for its low pressure cold press moulding (LPPM) and resin transfer moulding (RTM) processes, especially RTM Light (LRTM). Reinforcement cutting has now been relocated into a new purpose-built enclosed work room, along with the transfer of all large component assembly operations into the newly built factory area. Further streamlining of workflow has been achieved in all areas of manufacturing, not only for moulding, but also for robotic machining and finishing, component assembly, final inspection and packaging. The net result is a reduction in lead times of over 50% in some cases and a doubling of closed mould production capacity.

Further capacity has been gained, not only from addressing the issue of physical shop floor space, but also by improving the systems used to manage and control the business and work flow.  As well as investing in a new purpose built unit, at the same time the existing ERP system has been upgraded and new MRP functionality has been introduced to help achieve key productivity goals of: shorter lead times; reduced work in progress; increased flexibility; and single-piece workflow.  The combination of the two investments has resulted in a halving of total manufacturing cycle times for a significant proportion of the business. Matt Herbert, Managing Director of Broadwater Mouldings explained:“This expansion has not only given us more capacity, but the extra space has now enabled us to reorganise the factory for greater efficiency and implement many of the excellent ideas that have come from the shop floor production teams as part of our ‘lean manufacturing’ programme.”

The factory expansion by Broadwater Mouldings has been in response to continued growth in both UK and export orders, especially for large medical scanning equipment for hospitals and from customers in the transportation and automotive sectors. Demand has also increased for assembled ‘ready to fit’ finished FRP components complete with metal grills, fixing points, wiring looms, lighting and switches, which has required additional production space.