Six categories, one big prize: WTG honors manufacturers for game-changing business process projects

A state-of-the-art manufacturing execution system (MES) in use at the historic St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin gained international recognition at World Trade Group's (WTG) 2008 Strategic Manufacturing Awards. Credited with minimizing on-site waste by 40 percent, driving down utility costs by nearly [euro] 2 million, and bringing raw material costs to [euro] 1.


A state-of-the-art manufacturing execution system (MES) in use at the historic St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin gained international recognition at World Trade Group 's (WTG) 2008 Strategic Manufacturing Awards. Credited with minimizing on-site waste by 40 percent, driving down utility costs by nearly [euro] 2 million, and bringing raw material costs to [euro] 1.35 million under budget, the entry from London-based Diageo won the Manufacturing IT award sponsored by Rockwell Automation .

Held in Germany in early October, the awards ceremony saw manufacturing executives from all over Europe—including representatives from Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Baxter Healthcare—compete in six categories.

“To be shortlisted for the Manufacturing IT award is itself ample recognition that you are on the way to achieving manufacturing excellence,” notes Chris Molamphy, continuous improvement process team leader for the Dublin brewery, where Ireland's creamy dark brown Guinness beer has been produced since 1759.

Manufacturing Business Technology was present on the judging panel, along with Pierfrancesco Manenti, European research director at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC Manufacturing Insights ; and lean manufacturing coach and international author Mark Graban.

In all, more than 100 entries were received, with Lawrence Allen, marketing director for WTG, describing the standard of submissions as “incredibly high.”

Such was the case for Autoglym , a Letchworth, U.K.-based maker of automotive polishes and cleaning compounds, and winner of the Demand-Driven Manufacturing award.

According to Paul Phillips, director of production and logistics, the Autoglym project involved geographically separate product lines consolidated within the headquarters' manufacturing operation to deliver significant productivity and lead-time improvements, as well as an increase in capacity.

Says Phillips, “A small team picked the project up and made it work. The company had invested a lot of money in this part of the business, and the board took a keen interest in how it worked out.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Bendt Jørgensen of Nordborg, Denmark-headquartered Danfoss , a privately held, 23,000-employee manufacturer of valves, and fluid power and refrigeration components, with 70 factories in 25 countries.

Winning the Operational Excellence award, says Jørgensen, VP and head of the company's lean initiative, “is clear recognition” of the effort that employees made over the past four to five years to boost the company's competitiveness.

The award recognized development and rollout of the companywide Danfoss Business System, a lean manufacturing and supply chain initiative modeled after Toyota's Toyota Production System. The initiative embraces production, purchasing, sales, and product development.

“We did a benchmarking exercise, and saw we were making only half the earnings before tax of the best companies in our peer group,” he explains. “And when we looked in detail as to why this was, we discovered that the way we were working on our factory floors wasn't as smart as the way they were working. Specifically, we were [involved in] activities that weren't adding any value to the customer.”

No laggard, Danfoss had been on a journey of improvement since the early 1980s, when it had first sent employees to Japan to investigate Just-in-Time, Total Productive Maintenance, and similar concepts.

Line-up of excellence: Executives from winning companies take the stage for the World Trade Group 2008 Strategic Manufacturing Awards presentation.

“But these were piecemeal initiatives, not an integrated approach—hence our decision to go for a companywide lean business system that embraces the whole value chain,” Jørgensen explains. “To grow the company, we need to acquire other businesses—but that costs money. By improving our earnings before tax, we're generating that money, as well as making our operations more efficient.”

It's a message that wasn't lost on lean coach and judge Mark Graban.

“Lean success comes not from implementing lean methods, but rather from using lean to meet business improvement goals,” he notes. “Danfoss' results—improving productivity and capacity by more than 30 percent—are impressive.”

Other awards were given to companies with special prowess in green manufacturing, skills versatility, and innovation.

Sponsored by Microsoft, the Innovation award went to machine tool automation specialist Fatronik Tecnalia of San Sebastián, Spain, for its development of a mobile robot intended to drill holes with a high degree of precision in large aeronautical components—such as aircraft wing spars—during the assembly stage.

Already in use at Airbus España , part of Europe's Airbus consortium, the robot is delivering cycle-time improvements of 33 percent, says Hugo Martinez de Lahidalga, projects and markets manager at Fatronik.

The Green Manufacturing award—and the overall Manufacturer of the Year award—went to machine tool maker IDEKO-IK4 . Part of Spain's Danobat group, IDEKO acts as a research center for the group, developing new tools and techniques.

Paul Phillips, director of production and logistics for Autoglym, says the cleaning-compounds maker once had geographically separate product lines, but consolidated within the headquarters’ manufacturing operation to deliver significant productivity and lead-time improvements, as well as an increase in capacity. That consolidation earned Autoglym the Demand-Driven Manufacturing award this year, presented by the World Trade Group.

Working closely with a customer— Kennametal Technologies of Fuerth, Germany—IDEKO created a solution to a perennial problem: the machining of die cast magnesium components, which are conventionally machined under “wet” conditions with cutting oil due to the hazards of fires and explosions when working with the metal. During the machining processes, the tiny particles of magnesium will ignite if not continuously washed away from the cutting face of the tool, explains IDEKO's director of international R&D, Joseba Perez Bilbatua. The problem: disposing of the oil, which is difficult to treat or recycle.

It was for designing hollow cutting tools, new cutting parameters, and a redesigned spindle and tool holder that enabled oil-free “dry” machining that IDEKO won both the awards, explains Tom Boughton, WTG's manufacturing alumni project director.

“The Manufacturer of the Year award represents the pinnacle of manufacturing excellence, and acknowledges the achievements of a single enterprise in taking their business to the next level in competitive manufacturing,” says Boughton.

But for IDEKO, more bankable recognition is forthcoming, reports Bilbatua. The European Commission, it seems, has injected funding to help the company adapt the technique for use with the composite materials used in aerospace manufacturing.

“The aerospace industry potential is very exciting indeed,” concludes Bilbatua.

World Trade Group 2008 Strategic Manufacturing Awards

Green Manufacturing Award (sponsored by Autodesk ) and Manufacturer of the Year Award: IDEKO-IK4 , Spain

Manufacturing IT Award (sponsored by Rockwell Automation ): Diageo , U.K.

Innovation Award (sponsored by Microsoft ): Fatronik Tecnalia , Spain

Operational Excellence Award (sponsored by Atos Origin ): Danfoss , Denmark

Skills in Manufacturing Award: PA Consulting , Germany

Demand-Driven Manufacturer of the Year: Autoglym , U.K.

Special commendation: Bombardier Transportation , U.K.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me