This handy item is manufactured by Kolder, Inc., located in Edinburg, Texas, who manufactures a wide variety of products such as the Kolder Holder beverage insulator, coasters and eyeglass cases made from neoprene wetsuit rubber.
The company, which employs 180 people, has been in business since 1982 and has been very successful at finding different applications for neoprene.
Although the company had experienced a tremendous amount of growth since its inception, problems with production scheduling and per product manpower requirements were adversely affecting production, and management knew that something had to be done. A Kolder employee and former Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) student intern recommended that the company contact the local TMAC office at the University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA).
Dr. Miguel Gonzalez, TMAC manufacturing specialist, and his team of engineering interns visited Kolder and studied the actual operational processes involved in the production scheduling function. They obtained time studies, evaluated specific operations for given products and calculated the standard production time. Using this data, the TMAC team developed an Excel program that incorporates the company’s product mix and automatically calculates the manpower required per operation.
TMAC’s project team presented its findings and demonstrated the scheduling program for Kolder, who was very pleased with the results of TMAC’s efforts. Kolder plans to test and evaluate the program prior to implementation.
According to Dr. Gonzalez, Kolder wasn’t the only one who reaped tremendous benefits from the collaboration. “Kolder has benefited immensely by having TMAC and their students work on resolving production issues. The students have benefited just as much being able to apply fresh knowledge that has been learned to real world problems and seeing first-hand the positive results of their efforts. The support of TMAC has done wonders for students as far as providing opportunities in developing their skills,” stated Gonzalez.
Dr. Gonzalez isn’t the only one singing the praises of TMAC and the student interns. “We were very impressed by what the TMAC/UTPA engineering interns had to offer to Kolder. Working with our manufacturing engineer, Amelia Davila, they were able to tackle a specific area of our plant and give us a tool we can put to use on an everyday basis. It’s great to have such a valuable resource like TMAC right in our own backyard, ” said Jim Martin, operations manager at Kolder.
TMAC is a program of the Texas Engineering Extension Service and funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).