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2015 Highlights

Lean manufacturing leads to big benefits at PPG’s Illinois latex plant



Waste water reduction and yield loss improvement initiatives have generated a cost savings of nearly $500,000 in two years for PPG’s Batavia, Illinois plant.

Putting lean principles into action is producing a sizeable payoff at PPG’s Batavia, Illinois, latex paint manufacturing plant, a 2014 PPG Sustainability Award honoree.

Batavia implemented a multi-pronged waste reduction strategy last June that relied on lean manufacturing tools to identify and target steps in the manufacturing process where waste occurred.  Plant leadership then altered processes with specific actions that can be applied in other latex paint manufacturing facilities, including:

  • Installing timers in the straining area to standardize the amount of water used to flush filtration equipment between batch runs.
  • Developing a “clean-up matrix” that eliminated rinsing of the let-down tanks on compatible batches and standardized water use on non-compatible batches.
  • Installing small-profile lids with gaskets on let-down tanks to minimize drying of paint on tank walls and thus reducing the need to rinse tank walls.
  • Increasing wash water reuse with compatible products.
  • Switching non-hazardous waste water disposal contractors to lower costs.

The waste reduction strategies, which are also strengthening PPG’s bottom line, are being shared across the manufacturing network and implemented at other PPG sites where practical.

In addition to reducing waste water generation and disposal costs, the project is boosting manufacturing yield by increasing the amount of raw materials that end up as saleable product. For example, during the last half of 2014, Batavia cut waste-water generation by 25 percent or 100,000 gallons and saved $40,000.  In 2015, waste-related costs will decrease by 65 percent compared to 2013. This, combined with parallel yield improvement projects, will result in 56,000 additional gallons of material that can be used as product instead of waste.  The two year savings from these improvements is projected at $489,000.  By the end of 2015, a total of $2.7 million in combined savings will be realized compared to the 2009 baseline.

Looking ahead, the Batavia team is now exploring ways to lower the amount of raw materials lost in the dust collection system.