TMAC Success Stories

IPSCO

  • Continous improvement in place
  • Saved $32,000 annually
  • Improved safety

IPSCO was founded in 1956 and has over the years positioned itself as a leading producer of steel plate and energy tubular products in North America. In July 2007, IPSCO became a wholly owned subsidiary of SSAB, a leading Swedish steel company.

IPSCO is committed to continuous improvement in safety, quality and environmentally.

Situation

Hurricane Rita plowed through Texas and Louisiana in September 2005 causing destruction and interruption to many lives and businesses. Like so many, IPSCO’s Koppel Tubulars in Baytown, TX felt the mark of this horrible storm, losing nearly a week of production when its operations were halted.

Solution

When the management team at the IPSCO Baytown plant learned of the training opportunities offered by TMAC, they quickly jumped at the chance. Luis de la Torre, and other TMAC Specialists provided training on Principles of Lean Manufacturing followed by 5S training in both English and Spanish to management and plant operations personnel.

Outcome

These training sessions were delivered in 2007 with valuable results. “The operations departments are already working on special projects focusing on continuous improvement,” says Karina Izaguirre, Plant HR Manager. “IPSCO was so satisfied with the training that more training sessions have been requested for all employees,” she adds.

Also, a Kaizen event is in process at the Hydrotester Drift Station. The goal is to automate the paint banding of the pipe after it has been Hydrotested as required by API standards. Currently an operator has to walk from his position to the Drift station to manually paint the band on each piece of pipe, which takes time and exposes workers to moving pipe. One of IPSCO’s Quality Assurance Supervisors who attended the training offered a great, inexpensive solution: To install an ink pad on the exit rack that would paint the band as the pipe rolls down the rack. This is expected to save the operator approximately 30% of his time per shift (yearly savings up to $32,000), not including time he can devote to another value added activity. Most importantly, this process improvement further eliminates potential hand injuries and contributes to a safer work environment.

The move to continuous improvement is seen in all areas of the plant. IPSCO’s General Foreman initiated a similar project following the success in the Drift Station. “Safety and continual improvement is a Year Round Job for us,” says Izaguirre.

County: Chambers
Industry: Manufacturing
Services Provided: Principles of Lean Manufacturing and 5S Training (Both Spanish and English)
Website: www.ipsco.com