Viracon wins 2009 Progressive Manufacturing 100 Awards

Leading US architectural glassmaker Viracon, a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, and AeroScout, the leading provider of Unified Asset Visibility for improving operational efficiency, announced at the …

Leading US architectural glassmaker Viracon, a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, and AeroScout, the leading provider of Unified Asset Visibility for improving operational efficiency, announced at the end of June 2009 that Viracon has been named a winner of the fifth annual Progressive Manufacturing 100 Awards, receiving top honours in the category of Operational Excellence Mastery. Viracon received the award for its effective use of AeroScout“s Wi-Fi RFID Asset Tracking solution to accurately track the position of over 5,000 glass carriers in its three manufacturing facilities. As a result, Viracon has increased its success rate in identifying the exact location of carriers to over 99%, while cutting reproduction and scrap of lost carriers by 65%, thus considerably improving productivity and production cycle times. According to Sheila Meixner, Viracon“s vice president of process improvement, At Viracon we“re constantly looking for ways to operate more efficiently; so we are proud of our Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award and the results we“ve achieved with the AeroScout Asset Tracking solution. In fact, the project has been so successful that it paid for itself within six months of installation. AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags are placed on all in-process glass carriers, enabling shop-floor operators to have complete visibility of glass carriers moving throughout the manufacturing facilities, avoiding the need for a dedicated network of readers to enable location determination. Operators looking for a certain glass carrier, search for it with AeroScout“s MobileView software on computer terminals on the shop floor. The terminal shows the real-time location of the required carrier on a site map, allowing operators to locate carriers within seconds. Viracon is an excellent case study of a company using AeroScout solutions to drive lean manufacturing and operational efficiency, said Gabi Daniely, vice president of marketing and product strategy at AeroScout. Best of all, Viracon was able to use its existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network to add asset tracking and management solutions, which made the installation quick and easy and has reduced the total cost of ownership of the solution. The combination of quicker deployment and significant efficiency gains led to Viracon achieving a six-month payback on the project. The judging panel that chose the Viracon and AeroScout implementation was chaired by David R. Brousell, editor-in-chief, Managing Automation Media, and Jeff Moad, executive editor, Managing Automation (a Thomas Publishing Company, LLC publication). The PM100 recognizes 100 projects achieving distinction in at least one of the eight core disciplines defined by Managing Automation Media as being critical to business success in future years. Companies achieving Operational Excellence have mastered the ideas of continuous improvement as advocated in disciplines such as Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. They also achieve measurable excellence in internal operations, as well as in processes involving customers, partners and suppliers. In the face of one of the worst economic downturns in history, these winning companies dramatically underscore how the manufacturing industry will not only get through this period, but emerge in an even stronger position once a recovery takes hold, said Brousell. These companies are leading the way to a better future for all industry.