Manufacturing Month: Spotlight on North Berwick - Quality, Safety and Efficiency

Manufacturing Month continues with a spotlight on Pratt & Whitney's North Berwick facility. This video highlights the tremendous advancements in technology and manufacturing operations made at the site.

Be sure to check out the North Berwick facility fact sheet.

Pratt & Whitney North Berwick: Business Unit 8700

RENE THIBEAULT: In (Business Unit) 8700, there are four manufacturing cells in the business unit. With this transformation, we're going to have eight manufacturing cells with their own standard products. We predominantly are grinding, milling, turning. With our new mill turns, we are going to be combining a lot of the operations that we do in the shop into one operation.

RYAN DEAN: We really separated the new cells by product family, so we have bearing supports - also known as squirrel cages - flowing through one line, then we have the one, one-and-a-half bearing support flowing through its own specific line. We have tobies also flowing through their own specific line. It's very similar products flowing through the same machinery. So it's standardized tooling, standardized setups. Employees can really just change the material quickly and run parts through the cell.

MARK PELLETIER: We basically are taking the flint stone wheel forgings, turning them down into three operations, coming out with a complete part. The part comes into the line as a solid donut, it's a big, heavy chunk of steel. First off, finishes the entire profile of one side of the part completely. We'll turn the part over and finish the rest of the geometry on the opposite side. The parts are only going through three operations now, it's on two separate machines. We included a lot of on-machine deburring and a lot on-machine measuring that reduces operator intervention with the part. The final process is the CMM inspection. That's also included in the department. It saves us a lot of time from having to send it to an outside department to inspect, so that increases our turnaround time by being able to inspect and buy off our own material.

JOHN DUROST: It's a refreshing change from what we've had. The new equipment is going to make everything faster, easier, more efficient, more quality. Everything should be more repeatable. The goal is to get the parts out to the customer, make the customer happy and that's what we're shooting for.

DEBORAH CHEVALIER: With all the new tools, the lean manufacturing and things, especially bringing in these new machines, it helps consolidate the operations and it's going to make things a lot smoother.

NORM PETRIN: The new machines, they have probing cycles on there, which takes out a lot of the thinking from the operator compared to the old ones. It makes for less errors by the operator, also. It's a new world, so to speak. You can take that positive attitude and incorporate it into the machine and you have no issues. It makes it a lot of fun.

LENNY LANTAGNE: With the new machines, instead of getting the part, turning the part and sending it off to a mill, we'll be able to load the part, turn the part, mill the part and then the part comes off the machine. Now we're able to do all these operations on one machine.

DAVID COTE: We have our engineering group right upstairs. And we have one particular engineer that comes down on a day-to-day basis and talks with us with schedule, with design issues. He talks with our customers to ensure we have the right tools in place and designs in place to meet our delivery needs.

MARSHALL THAYER: The more major part of my work would be making sure that we get the manufacturing input in the design. So the big benefit of having engineers on site in North Berwick is we're able to capture the knowledge that the manufacturing engineers have and all the technicians that are making the parts and integrate that in the design and get the best possible product the first time through.

RAY BERGERON: Our new process now is EDM - electrical discharge machining. The way the process works is the part is located on a fixture on a rotary table. The is then submerged in dielectric (fluid) and then the machine actually positions the electrode inside the part and starts to machine the part using electricity. What you end up with is essentially a controlled burn where you're actually eroding material using electricity and turning that material into carbon.

JOHN DEMERS: When an operator asks us to run a job for a day, do a setup, run a job, do a setup, you've got to have everything ready for them and ready to go.

GARY ADJUTANT: I used to walk say 30, 40, 50 feet in any given direction to find my tooling.

JOHN DEMERS: We managed to get ahold of every tool for every job that ran through that standard work, organize it by part number.

GARY ADJUTANT: Now we have everything labeled. It's in its own slot. It's not used for another job. It's specifically bought for my machine and my operation. Now I know right where it is. When I want it, it's there.

JOHN DEMERS: It was taking as long to set up as it was to run the parts.

GARY ADJUTANT: I'd say we probably improved our setup times and cut them in half.

ROBERT WYMAN: I've got to say, it's probably the number one in this company is safety. Very open. Employees in the plant drive it. That's what's more exciting about it. I don't have to go around and supervise safety issues. They come to me with the issues. They bring me the paperwork. And I go forward and we get them fixed.

MARSHALL THAYER: There's a very, very small handful of companies that even have the capabilities to manufacture a jet engine, and it's very exciting to know that you're a part of making people fly.

MIRANDA MATHEWS: I take a lot of pride in it. It's exciting.

ROBERT WYMAN: It's overwhelming to think of where we've come from and where we're going. It's going to be a great feeling for everyone in the plant.

LENNY LANTAGNE: There's a lot of enthusiasm in the shop.

DAVID COTE: I'm really proud that when I go outside and I'm looking up in the sky, I can see a jet fly overhead, I know there's a pretty good chance that I have my signature on some of the hardware that's up there flying. And I know that it's a safe product, and I'm just delighted to be working in this industry.

JOHN DUROST: Everything we do from this day on is to make those parts quicker, better, faster, better quality, get them to the people that need them.

RENE THIBEAULT: We know what we're doing in 8700, we know who we are, the question is why are we here. We're here to be the lowest-cost producer in the world of making bearing housings, supports and tobies

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