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Lean Manufacturing

National Manufacturing Day takes place annually on the first Friday of October to celebrate the industry that provides the goods and services to America. In the spirit of manufacturing in America, here's one way our proud American manufacturing company has improved our processes.

In 2006, as EDCO emphasized becoming more efficient and shortening lead times– while still maintaining our patented Rental-Tough quality– we enlisted the help of lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing derives primarily from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Given the growth of Toyota from a small company in Japan to one of the world’s largest automakers, a focused attention was placed on how they attained that success.

Coined as “lean manufacturing” in 1990, the waste-cutting strategy stresses continuous improvement (“kaizen”) to manufacturing processes. “Wastes” in the manufacturing process refer to expending any resources that don’t add value to the customer.

In the lean manufacturing model that EDCO follows, wastes include:

  1. Overproduction: Making products in too great of a quantity or before it is needed, leading to an excess in inventory
  2. Waiting: Doing nothing or working slowly while waiting for a previous step in the process to be completed
  3. Transport: Transportation of products from one location to another in the manufacturing process, especially large distances
  4. Motion: Any movement during the manufacturing process that is not benefitting the customer
  5. Inventory: An excessive amount of raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods stock held in the manufacturing facility
  6. Over-Processing: Adding more value to a product that the customer actually requires or sees
  7. Defects: Products that do not meet the standard of what the customers need or the specifications defined

With the wide array of wastes, it takes an undivided effort to provide more value to the customer during the manufacturing process. Taking a look at the facility’s layout, the process from raw materials to shipping, and the product itself, wastes in the process arise in every facet.

Given the philosophy of continuous improvement that lean manufacturing stresses so heavily, decreasing waste is a process that occurs over time with a continued commitment to eliminating non-essential space, practices or procedures.

The leaned processes, condensed operations, and more efficient space ultimately help get the product to the customer more efficiently without sacrificing the quality. Lean manufacturing is not about eliminating jobs; it’s about taking the same people and empowering them to work smarter.

Employee profile

Chuck Wren - Outside Salesman

Chuck Wren started with EDCO in January 2018. Before coming to EDCO, Chuck had 12 years of experience in the rental industry, working with Sunbelt Rentals. He started in customer service, answering application and technical questions about our machines. Then, Chuck transitioned to outside sales, where he travels to help customers with on-site training and education.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Visiting customers in a product support role, training them, letting them know about Magna-Trap accessories and what they should be used for, following up on machines to see how the rentals are doing for them, trying to get them more rentals and jobs that the machines could be used for.

What's your approach when you're doing these on-site trainings?

I start in a classroom setting and use our catalog as a training guide to go over everything from the steps of concrete preparation to the PSI of the concrete to Magna-Trap accessoires to Silica Dust control. Then we go outside and do a hands-on, where we’re using the machines.

What do you take pride in?

I just try to make sure they completely understand the full EDCO line. What everything’s used for, what an accessory does and making sure they’re being profitable with their rental and it’s not just sitting on their ready line with no customers. I can help them identify what customers to go after to get more rentals.

What parts of the country do you serve?

I travel to and serve customers in Maryland, New York City, Delaware, Long Island, all of New England.

Where's the coolest place your work travels have taken you?

Hartford, Connecticut, because of the history that’s there, the old architecture, the old churches and the American history that’s in Connecticut.

What's an example of a difficult application you helped a customer solve?

Getting dry, chipped up tar off of a flat roof. We used the dual-disc grinder with PCDs (without backing segments). They were amazed with how that worked, and then of course that’s just another problem our products can be used to achieve, not just grinding concrete. This was just removal of a tar off a flat, concrete roof that they were going to reapply the tar. And they were just amazed at how that grinder and PCDs just shredded that tar right off and prepared the surface for the new tar coating.

EDco history decades series

Building for the Future (The 1990s)

EDCO's newly built 85,000 sq. ft. facility in the 1990s.

In the 1990s, our operation and space needs once again outgrew the space we occupied. So in 1998, we doubled the size of our building to approximately 85,000 square feet to allow more room for our manufacturing process to take place.

Along with the resized building, EDCO machines began going through a change to their appearance. Going against the bright-color trend of the 1990s, EDCO machines began to be painted tan, which was later incorporated to the entire line in the mid 2000s to give a uniform and recognizable look to EDCO machines.

Improvements on existing machines continued during this decade as several new models replaced their older counterparts. As an example, to offer better dust prevention, EDCO added a unique “Multi-Vac Port” to all grinders. This vacuum port accommodates both 2-inch and 3-inch hoses, which expanded vacuum options. In 1991, EDCO introduced their own line of industrial vacuums, which are the recommended options for our machines.

Other changes to machines included expanded power options, which helped the operator use EDCO products at a variety of different job sites.

It was also in the 1990s that EDCO released the Strip-Serts™ accessories, which were created to remove thicker-soft coatings, after releasing Dyma-Serts™ in the late 1980s to remove thinner-hard coatings. Both of these accessories fit the popular diamond grinding tooling methods of that era.

New machines in the 1990s included a CPM-8 walk-behind mini-planer (1991), which has since become one of our most popular machines to handle several applications, a crack-chaser saw (1991), and a hard-scape saw (1999).

Those new machines and the rest of the company’s presence gained exposure on a new platform as we welcomed the advancements in technology and expanded our customer reach with a website. The website made valuable information about EDCO and our products very accessible for our customers.

A new and simplified EDCO logo was rolled out in 1999. This logo with white lettering inside a red rectangle background remains the company’s logo in 2019.

Problem solving with edco

The Problem: Working in Hard-to-Reach Areas

The Solution: EDCO's 7" Turbo Grinder (TMC-7)

Some construction or do-it-yourself projects require the operator to remove material or grind concrete in hard-to-reach areas. Whether it’s a difficult angle or a tight working area, some users think the only option is to turn to hand tools for those low-accessibility jobs.

But a low-profile machine like EDCO’s 7” Turbo / EDGE Grinder (model TMC-7) eliminates the excruciatingly long job time of using hand tools. Further, the upright operation takes away the need for users to work on in awkward positions.

With a low-profile height at 38.5 inches, and just a two-foot width, the TMC-7 can be used under surfaces such as sinks, bars and countertops for strip, grind and removal applications, using the line of Magna-Trap accessories to qualify the machine for different applications.

Another application where accessibility is otherwise limited that the TMC-7 solves is working along vertical surfaces such as walls, cabinetry or sidewalks curbs.

Other EDCO Magna-Trap and Turbo Grinders are generally recommended for larger areas, but they cannot work as close to the vertical surfaces as the TMC-7 can because of the head design and the three-position articulating wheel frame that follows vertical surfaces.

The TMC-7’s ability to work along curbs allows operators to grind down problems with the concrete and correct water flow.

Along vertical surfaces in residential and commercial areas, the turbo grinder can grind concrete surfaces all the way to the vertical surfaces in the room so that there aren’t any overlay inconsistencies along those areas.

With stripping and removal Magna-Trap accessories, the TMC-7 completes the task and doesn’t leave any of the unwanted material on the floor’s perimeter.

Overall, the TMC-7 achieves the desired result without cutting any corners in the hard-to-reach areas. By comparison, hand tools cause more wear and tear on the body, and take longer to complete the project.

Machine highlights

TMC-7

  • Three-position articulating frame adjustment for left angle, right angle or straight position grinding
  • Four-position dust shroud allows flush grinding against any vertical surface in the left angle, right angle or straight position
  • Multiple-position handle assembly allows the operator to work behind the unit for edge grinding or in front of the unit and control the amount of grinding pressure applied
  • Adjustable tubular handle construction provides operator maximum grinding flexibility and allows for complete clearance of any vertical surface
  • Available with 5.5 HP gasoline engine or with 2.0 HP electric motor
  • Comes standard with Magna-Trap® Accessory Disc, but is also available with optional Flex Head Assembly or Rigid Head Assembly for doing gutter work

Also ideal for:

  • Removing coatings, build-ups, markings, overlays or paints
  • Grinding uneven expansion joints, high spots, joint curls and bridge decks
  • Removing coatings
  • Grinding rough concrete surfaces
  • Preparing a smooth, flat floor to receive a new coating
  • Grinding surfaces 4 times faster than a traditional floor grinder

Our home - Frederick, md

Rockwell Brewery

Matt Thrasher and Paul Tinney had both been home brewing in Frederick, Maryland, at The Flying Barrel, a store and workshop for home brewing, and both had their sights set on turning the hobby into business ventures in the beer industry.

Thrasher was exploring options for a hop farm before looking into opening a brewery and tasting room on the land he owned. Tinney, meanwhile, was interested in opening a brewery in Frederick.

After Thrasher learned the costs that would be associated with his vision, he approached Tinney with the idea of teaming up and putting their resources together to open a Frederick brewery.

And with that, plans were set in motion to transforming an old car service bay into Rockwell Brewery with the desire of serving high-quality beer in a welcoming atmosphere. And in March 2017, the plans came to fruition with the debut.

“We wanted to have high-quality beer, and we wanted a place where people would enjoy being to drink it. For us that’s part of the theme,” Tinney said. “Good beer, great music, friends, a place to hang out and have it be something you want to experience.”

Before setting plans for Rockwell, Tinney was working at an investment firm that was looking at restaurants and breweries. While there, there was a projection for a craft brewing wave set to hit Frederick.

The projection proved to be prophetic as Rockwell was one of eight breweries to open in the city’s growing presence in the craft beer industry.

“Frederick’s been a great home for craft beer. I think the growth is a tribute to the fact that there was a desire for this type of beer,” Tinney said. “There was a desire for local, artisan-style craft beer.”

With so many breweries producing quality beer around the city, it was important to create an atmosphere to attract customers to theirs. So Thrasher enlisted the help of his wife, who had interior design experience, to turn a limited budget into an aesthetic look inside former service bay.

The result was a modern-industrial feel inside the tasting room that incorporated elements of the structure’s roots, while adding lights and wood tables and stools. Since opening, they’ve also added a fenced-in outdoor area complete with an abundance of seating.

Customers are also treated to the opportunity to order food from neighboring Family Meal, owned by former Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio. The co-founders of Rockwell teamed up with Family Meal to coordinate a point of sales and delivery system.

The condensed menu from Family Meal includes a fried chicken entree that Thrasher and Tinney created a beer to match with. Other options include a monthly sandwich that Family Meal designs for the brewery.

Fostering a welcoming atmosphere didn’t stop there, though. Thrasher and Tinney set out to engage different groups in the community, and opened the doors to them. The co-founders listed different groups that congregate at their brewery including: bicyclists, a church group, comedy groups, a knitting group, musicians, pet owners and runners, among others.

“It’s like back to the old days where your breweries are like your corner pubs where they’re your community gathering places pretty much,” Thrasher said. “That’s what I feel we offer and what it’s become.”

To further the sense of community, Rockwell hosts a number of different events that appeal to a variety of interests. The brewery has hosted events that relate to pets, different music genres, sports and more.

Serving high-quality beer is the other side of the simplistic business plan. The staples at Rockwell reflect the co-founders styles. Thrasher has always gravitated toward hoppy IPAs, while Tinney enjoys the english and brown ales, so the wheelhouse for the brewery is in those areas.

But head brewer Scott McKernon has over 25 years worth of experience in the brewing industry and has the requisite knowledge to create a variety of both regional and international styles.

McKernon’s expertise has been an asset that’s allowed them to create an array of beers that they hope suits every customer’s tastes.

When a new beer appears on the chalk-board menu, its name alludes to an artist, lyric or song title as an ode to the musical theme that’s rooted in the Rockwell title that came from Tinney’s other business, a hand-crafted guitar shop called “Rockwell Guitars.”

“It’s named after the guitar company because I thought hand-crafted guitars and hand-crafted beer and the whole artisan theme was a nice fit,” Tinney said.