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E3: Economy, Energy and Environment

E3 Success Story - Examining Inefficiencies Facility-wide: Triad Manufacturing

Assessment Details

  •  Date: September 2008

  • Team: Missouri Enterprise, a NIST MEP, David Goebel and Nick Hennen

Triad Manufacturing is a manufacturer of retail store fixtures used for displaying products. Triad's customers include Best Buy, Target, Banana Republic, Home Depot, and Pacific Sunwear.

The Situation

Missouri Enterprise, a NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, approached Triad about participating in the Green Suppliers Network since they were aware that Triad routinely looked for opportunities to improve its operations.

David Goebel and Nick Hennen of Missouri Enterprise completed Triad's review in September 2008. Instead of focusing on one product or process line, Triad wanted to examine inefficiencies across its whole facility. The review team prepared high-level value stream maps that captured the entire system, from raw materials entering the facility to finished products exiting. The review process identified two primary opportunities: improved energy efficiency and increased recycling of byproducts.

The Solution

Following the Green Suppliers Network review, Triad has succeeded in reducing its energy consumption by making four changes. The first two, capturing waste heat off its drying ovens and compressed air system for heating the facility during the winter months and installing infrared heaters to reduce the use of forced air heat, have saved the company an estimated $80,000 annually. The third, installing a new powder coating line, has decreased energy use for the powder coating process line by 40 percent and also reduced hazardous effluent by 10,000 gallons annually. Fourth, Triad implemented a leak detection program for its compressed air system that could potentially save an additional $25,000 annually.

Triad is also interested in recycling its sawdust and scrap wood pallets. The company is currently investigating the feasibility of sending its broken wood pallets to a company that manufactures wood pellets for heat. Recycling these wood pallets would eliminate a waste stream of 30,000 pounds annually.

Green Suppliers Network Findings

  • Cost Savings: $80,000, with potential for $25,000 in additional savings
  • Reduced Hazardous Effluent: 10,000 gallons annually
  • Potential Annual Solid Waste Reduction: 30,000 pounds