Teamwork improved Wroclaw’s Cooling Tank Factory

With a cross-functional team, the Cooling Tank Factory in Wroclaw, Poland, has increased its safety, reduced production time, and improved material flow in its production process.

The project set out to optimize the cooling tanks production line with emphasis on improving material flow, ergonomics, and safety, as well as reducing costs and improving production processes. The whole project started with working on the concept of a new technology for the Cooling Tank Factory. The previous setup required manual labour at many workstations, which during the design phase was changed to more ergonomic solutions and mechanical aides.

“It is difficult to change something that has been working for 30 years,” says Marek Brink, Factory Manager, DMWR Cooling Factory. “The technical side is one thing, but the change in people is the second and more difficult side of things to achieve.”

Many different departments took part in the cooling tank project. The team consisted of the production unit in Wroclaw with engineering, planning, and DPS team, at certain stages of the project, the product area was also consulted. And to add an extra bit of difficulty, the entire process was done during COVID-19 restrictions. “We had a lot of support from the production engineer. Everything was first created as an Auto-CAD drawing on a computer, to then be analysed and discussed. When we had come to a decision, the new solutions and tools were put into production. Together with the planning department, we developed an order pattern depending on the tank capacity to balance the production process,” says Marek.

A new warehouse for all the components was built and the team established a system for completing and delivering components for a specific order. All the new changes in the factory have had a very positive impact on production. The total production time for the cooling tanks has been reduced by an average of 10.6%. “The whole project was very successful. We managed to reduce production time, increase safety, and improve the material flow – to mention a few positives. We delivered the project in full on time, despite the challenges we had coping with COVID-19. At times, we had to be flexible and reschedule some activities, but we never had to push our overall schedule, which was a great feat,” says Marek.

Today, the new setup in the factory is up and running and is working as intended. The changes have been well received by the employees and the goals of the project have been achieved. But the results are not the only positive thing that came out of this. “The teamwork that was shown throughout this whole project was very inspiring. To see many different colleagues work cross-functional to make this happen really shows the dedication of our employees in DeLaval. The changes made are not something that is successfully implemented overnight – going from one way of working to another is as mentioned before a bit tricky sometimes. To see that it has been a very rewarding process is very inspiring for future endeavours,” says Marek.

Going forward, the project team is looking into even more automated processes to be implemented. Many of the workstations have intentionally been prepared for this additional automation, which will make potential future implementations easier to do.

Thank you, Marek and the rest of the team, for sharing this story about coming together as a team and finding ways of achieving your goals!

Core project team: Artur Kopij, Adam Wzorek, Piotr Murzyn, Gerard Kordiak, Monika Krawczyk, Anna Korneluk, Dorota Borgul