Ergoseal Equipped with New Tech through MxD Grant
Ergoseal, an Illinois firm that specializes in providing best-fit fluid sealing solutions to the aerospace, food and beverage, and industrial sectors (among others) since 1989, recently partnered with MxD for process improvement. Through this collaboration, Ergoseal received assistance in obtaining and implementing sensor kits into their operations.
What is MxD?
MxD is an organization dedicated to leveraging technology to enhance operations within manufacturing facilities across the United States. Through collaboration with the Department of Defense, MxD provides American factories with essential digital tools, cybersecurity measures, and workforce proficiency required to consistently elevate the quality of every manufactured component. This concerted effort enables over 300 partners to boost productivity, secure more business opportunities, and fortify the foundation of U.S. manufacturing.
MxD aims to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by expediting the widespread adoption of digital solutions. This involves offering coaching, resources, and workforce development initiatives, coupled with raising national awareness about opportunities to reinforce the fabric of U.S. manufacturing.
The vision of MxD is to revolutionize and safeguard innovation in U.S. manufacturing through the strategic integration of digital technologies, cybersecurity measures, and an empowered workforce.
Rather than replacing operators, MxD's research showcases how technology can assist them. The ongoing development of products, some of which undergo testing on our factory floor, aids companies in enhancing training, materials management, quality control, and safety protocols — all while minimizing costs.
Collaboration with Ergoseal
Ergoseal leadership learned about MxD through IMEC, an organization that dedicates itself to helping manufacturers in Illinois. Through a seminar at MxD’s facility, they realized they had an opportunity to qualify for MxD’s program. Soon after, the MxD team did on on-site visit to assess Ergoseal’s manufacturing floor, working with the production team to brainstorm improvements.
“MxD is a wonderful resource we just recently learned about and have been utilizing more and more. As a small business, it is important that we stay on top of new technology and advancements without breaking the bank and MxD provides us exactly that,” says Ergoseal Chief Operating Officer/Integrator, Christine Verni.
“They offer a variety of tools and expertise that help pull everything together for us as a small manufacturer by helping us develop new ideas and technology.”
Partnerships like this are crucial for Ergoseal and other small and mid-sized manufacturers (SMMs) who may not have the resources for or awareness of new tech that could significantly improve their operation“MxD helps us stay abreast of new offerings we can take advantage of and is an ongoing resource for us to tap into to learn more about how to make improvements on our shop floor,” says Verni.
New Technology: Sensor Kits
MxD conducted an assessment within Ergoseal’s manufacturing facility to identify areas for improvement. Teams from Ergoseal and MxD collectively determined an ideal starting point would be monitoring their welding station as well as their coolant pumps. These areas were selected as areas where relatively simple improvements to their current equipment could have a significant impact.
The welding station sensor tracks piece counts and the amperage output to help control the welds and ensure 100% quality parts.
The coolant pump sensor monitors the pumps so technicians can be proactive in maintaining and repairing the pumps. Instead of waiting until obvious failure, the sensor trips a light when the amperage of the sensor is going up, which prompts staff to inspect the pump. They can then repair or replace it.
“We saw this as an opportunity to, with MxD’s expertise, implement basic but meaningful ways to collect data and help improve the efficiency in our shop,” Verni says, adding the sensor kits were installed and tested in a few hours and they’ve been in place for several months with no issues.
The sensor kit integration has already proven helpful in updating procedures. Before the welding sensor installation, staff monitored welds visually to determine whether each one was acceptable or not. But it was problematic as the probe would get dirty and the amperage would drop without the operator realizing it.
So Ergoseal implemented a new procedure to clean the probe more frequently and then utilize the sensor amperage reading as a backup to tell if the probe is starting to wear and determine if the weld is good. The result? They’ve reduced the number of bad welds/pieces significantly. Further, fewer labor hours are spent troubleshooting and the number of parts scrapped has been reduced.
This new process also gives operators peace of mind on a day-to-day basis that they are producing good parts and will remain up and running.
The coolant pump monitoring has also garnered positive results: improved planning capabilities and reduced downtime implementation. Increased longevity from their pumps means Ergoseal can better manage the timing of repairs. They can also avoid purchasing parts on a costly rush basis which means they have time to get competitive quotes for replacement parts.
These technology acquisitions are only the beginning of process optimization for Ergoseal. Currently, they are in the early stages of Industry 4.0 implementation and the project with MxD helped their shop floor operators understand ways we can make simple improvements using current equipment.
Besides the new equipment, the data it (and subsequent new additions) provides gives Ergoseal’s ops team more information to leverage as they continue making process improvements.
“We have more data and information on the welder than prior which will allow us to make better decisions and further implement additional technology,” Verni explains adding that having an improved understanding of the time and process required to produce a good weld helps with costing.
Accessing, embracing, and leveraging new technology is a strategic imperative for SMMs. The combination of technology and data-driven insights empowers these manufacturers to optimize efficiency, elevate product quality, and navigate the evolving demands of the industry – all of which align nicely with both MxD’s and Ergoseal’s mission.
“One of our core values is to ‘Pursue Life-Long Learning’ and this has been the perfect partnership to help our team learn more about technology to strengthen our manufacturing,” says Verni.