I keep hearing a story that is all too familiar…
In several Plants, the personnel is saying that they have already spent thousands of dollars trying to optimize their Continuous Filament Winding plants, yet they are still struggling to achieve the expected results and income.
In some other cases, the manufacturing Plants are not really aware of the fact they are losing money and that they could be increasing their profits instead.
Those are common problems in the filament winding industry, because in Composites, to get the maximum profit optimization, you have to use an approach that is completely different from other manufacturing industries.
When they ask me how and where to start the process to get the expected results, the answer is always:
“The most important step is to start asking yourself the right questions, and you will instantly know if there is room for improvement.”
As I wrote in my previous post, I have decided to disclose which questions you should be posing, but first I need to recall the 2009 market crisis which also affected the GRP pipeline projects.
Until 2009, a lot of pipe manufacturing companies were doing great, usually with a goal to produce kilometers and kilometers of pipelines as fast as possible, without paying much attention to the cost per meter of the pipe, or if the pipes’ technological specifications were higher than required.
The main winning equation before 2009 was: PRODUCE FAST = REDUCE COSTS.
But, during the 2009 market crisis, the number of new infrastructure projects decreased and the GRP pipeline market lost a lot of opportunities. Suddenly the main equation – produce fast to reduce costs, wasn’t working anymore.
The strong decrease in market demand resulted in companies struggling to survive and some even closed down.
To help companies solve this problem, I carefully analysed the GRP market, every step of the Filament Winding process and production, and together with my business partner Fabio Fracasso, using our 16 years of experience in the filament winding market, created the EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® (EFW) method.
Let me dedicate a few words to our EFW technology so you can understand it better.
It is clear that the final user of the GRP pipes wants to build a reliable and durable pipeline to move a certain liquid from point A to point B. To reach this final goal, the complete infrastructure project needs to combine knowledge from different fields of expertise. Two of these fields, that have to be incorporated and which are extremely important for the final positive success, are the design and the manufacturing of the GRP pipes.
Yes, you understood this correctly. In order for your GRP pipes to perform in the best possible way, they must be designed and produced with the infrastructure design and the installation conditions being taken into consideration.
After you understand the project requirements, you will need to fine-tune your design and perform the right actions in the correct sequence. Only then, using the correctly equipped production machines that are specifically designed to increase the performance of your manufacturing plant, will you be able to produce the optimal GRP pipes, boosting your profits.
I have just written “perform the right actions in the correct sequence” because, for example, you need to analyse, use, and combine different raw materials in the most efficient way possible, constantly optimizing your process parameters. To do that, you need to complete one step of the production process at a time, in the correct order.
In this way, you will apply the new equation which is:
PRODUCE EFFECTIVELY = REDUCE COSTS = INCREASE PROFITS.
Our EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® allows you to do exactly that.
Before I continue, let’s take a look at how effective the production of your pipes is. You can easily determine that on your own by asking yourself the following 3 questions:
Check and compare the main pipe technical specifications after production (for example hoop tensile modulus, hoop flexural modulus, axial tensile modulus) with the theoretical values. Do you see a big deviation? If you do, it means that you are selling a pipe with a higher specification. The bad news is that your clients are not paying for that gap.
- Check the circumference on several different points of the pipe. Is it constant throughout the pipe’s length? Every time the circumference is greater than expected, you are wasting material.
- Check the percentage of the resin in the core layer (if you are producing a three-layer pipe). Is your actual value the same as the expected one?
If you answer is yes, then your profit is locked up inside that layer.
If you have inspected your pipes and seen that they are not yet optimized, it means there is a lot of money that is captured inside the pipes which is not going straight into your company’s bank account.
There is an immediate 2-step solution for these problems:
- Fight against the statement: “We’ve always done it this way.” Because reiterating this phrase is the easiest way to end up being trapped in a vicious circle, resulting in you being superseded by your competitors in the end.
- Apply our EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® method, the first-ever approach designed to ensure profit-making in the Filament winding industry. It allows you to have all the necessary controls in place and the data at hand to allow you to continuously fine-tune your industrial process. In this way, you know exactly what to adjust and when to adjust it to achieve your expected results.
Several Filament Winding manufacturing companies are implementing our method with amazing results and they are already moving towards the second implementation step, upgrading their manufacturing equipment, to get the maximum profit optimization.
If you already have a manufacturing plant, I would suggest you ask for a complete Audit by our Engineers to get a full picture of its actual condition and possibilities for upgrades.
Of course, if you are planning to invest in this industry, my advice is to be very careful when choosing the Manufacturing Line, because the choice between high-performance equipment or standard equipment will strongly influence your Return of Investment.
Due to that, we have decided to build only high-performance Continuous Filament Winding Plants, which are prepared to help our customers implement the EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® in the easiest possible way.
We decided, applying the Continuous Filament Winding technology, to implement the features which are essential to get the maximum profit optimization. Here are a few examples:
- our lines are designed and prepared in such a way, that they allow you to use different raw material brands in the most optimal way to produce high-performance pipes. This efficiently allows you to use the raw material supplier that is the closest to your premises, optimising your transport costs;
- our lines include innovative, high-tech controls for the most important parameters of the process and are prepared to work with minimum or even zero maintenance. Your operators will be able to inspect all the parameters during the production and check that they are exactly as per the pipe recipe. Any deviation will be immediately corrected;
- our lines are equipped with special and precise sensors (for example for resin viscosity, resin and sand temperature, roving tension, etc.) which provide you with the correct data required for implementing our EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® method, enabling you to get immediate profit optimization.
Coming back to your process optimization, I sincerely suggest that from now onwards, you always keep the following in mind:
- Be effective and only then you can be efficient;
- Fight against the statement: “We’ve always done it this way”;
- Develop a detailed understanding of your production process;
- Clearly define the results you need to achieve;
- Correct all the activities that don’t allow you to achieve these results;
- Re-start the process optimization loop once more.
These are just some of the concepts which compose the EFW – EFFECTIVE FILAMENT WINDING® – the first-ever integrated system to ensure profit-making in the Filament Winding Industry.