Manufacturing excellence is a great topic for conversation, but nothing beats a hands-on look at how top companies actually make their products. As part of the 2022 Manufacturing & Technology Show on Oct. 20, Charter Steel, General Motors and Vitamix opened their doors to about 100 show attendees.
Located near Cleveland in the suburb Garfield Heights, Charter Steel's mini-mill includes a state-of-the-art melt shop and a rolling mill. The tour focused on safety solutions that reduce employee exposure, automation solutions to optimize efficiencies/performance and advanced manufacturing solutions such as a billet ID Robot.
In the Cleveland suburb Parma, GM's Parma Metal Center sits on Chevrolet Blvd. The high-volume stamping plant makes many of the parts that drivers never see on their cars, such as inner door supports. The facility includes massive stamping presses and a robotic laser welding line. The plant tour was run by the plant's manager and its United Auto Workers local president.
Fans of high-power blenders visited the company's newest plant in Strongsville, Ohio, a 10-year-old plant south of Cleveland. The tour focused on the company's lean journey, quality, blade automation cell and shipping departments. Vitamix manufacturing experts gave a presentation at the show about continuous improvement using quick Kaizen cards, so the tour gave visitors a chance to see those principles in action.