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E3: Economy, Energy and Environment

E3 Success Story - Making an Investment in the Company: C.U.E.

Company Basics

  • Location: Mount Hope, West Virginia
  • Size: 30,000 square feet

Assessment Details

  • Date: July 2010
  • Team Lead: Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership

C.U.E. in Mount Hope, West Virginia, is a 30,000 square foot facility with 13 employees producing molded polyurethane and cast urethane parts for the mining, packaging, and transportation industries. West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WVMEP) conducted an E3 project at C.U.E. in July 2010.

WVMEP's energy assessment part of E3 examined electricity management, lighting systems, compressed air, HVAC, production equipment, and ovens. Implementation of recommendations would result in an estimated 20% electricity and natural gas cost savings.

An aspect and impact matrix was used by WVMEP to determine the potential for environmental improvements. C.U.E already recycles extensively and manages waste streams well so little scope for improvement was found.

An array of opportunities were found by WVMEP to implement lean production principles in areas such as mistake proofing, kanban systems, rapid exchange of dies, 5S, and value stream mapping. C.U.E. asked WVMEP to provide a value stream map, which identified opportunities to streamline the production process. The space freed by modifying plant layout has allowed C.U.E. to bring temperature-sensitive inventory inside the main plant, eliminating the need to heat an additional storage facility resulting in $20,000 in annual savings.

C.U.E. has also begun the process of training all production workers in lean principles, working with WVMEP to receive the training in June 2011. Additional lean implementation projects are currently being scheduled.

Our experience with WVMEP on E3 proved to be a valuable investment. Improvements in our production systems will enable us to lower costs, maintain our quality standards, and improve functionality on the shop floor. We would highly recommend WVMEP to any company.

— C.U.E. Plant Manager Jim Ba