Johns Manville Engineered Products’ Etowah, Tennessee, plant has been grappling with a proficiency gap in its fiber forming room, resulting in performance challenges. Recognizing the potential benefits of partnering with the highly experienced technicians at the Trnava, Slovakia, location, the Etowah team embarked on a collaborative effort to bridge this gap and drive improvements.
A delegation of skilled technicians from Trnava recently traveled to the United States, to join forces with the Etowah technicians in a mutually beneficial project. The primary objectives were to identify areas for enhancement and facilitate the exchange of best practices. By combining the collective expertise of both teams, the Etowah plant was able to validate and reassess previously identified concerns, resulting in accelerated progress in the fiber-forming room.
This collaborative endeavor uncovered several key equipment disparities that have the potential to positively impact Etowah's performance. Notably, the Trnava team has effectively utilized FLIR cameras – used for night vision, thermal imaging and infrared photography – for troubleshooting bushings, which impressed the Etowah team, prompting the acquisition of similar equipment. Furthermore, Trnava's implementation of automatic chopper rebuild manipulators successfully mitigated physical strain and safety issues in their own plant. As a result, the Etowah team has expressed a keen interest in further exploring this innovative technology.
In addition to equipment-related insights, Trnava offered valuable suggestions regarding communication practices throughout the line of progression, aiming to better support the technicians in the fiber-forming room. This emphasis on improved communication has emerged as a critical factor in the success of the collaboration.
The Trnava team had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Etowah's process technologies, which they plan to test at their own facility to assess potential benefits for their existing operations. This knowledge exchange has proved invaluable in fostering a deeper understanding between the two plants, forging stronger professional connections.