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Process Improvement Applying "Trim-Free" Technology


Laminated glass by Cardinal LG offers improved safety and security,noise reduction, impact resistance, and protection from damaging ultraviolet light. The company maintains a leadership position in the glazing industry and serves window manufacturers and home-owners with the latest in applied glass science.

As a subsidiary of Cardinal Glass Industries, Cardinal LG Company produces laminated glass for residential applications and is one of 37 Cardinal manufacturing facilities located throughout the United States. 

The Challenge

Cardinal LG Production Planning Manager Barb Goodlet asked UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) to help the company identify sources of defects within the Amery, Wisconsin, laminated glass (LG) facility and partner with staff to eliminate root causes.
UW-Stout MOC has brought discipline and structure to our facility. Partnering with them has proven to be a cost-effective means to bring positive change, and we look forward to continuing our relationship.
— Barb Goodlet, Production Planning Manager

MEP's Role

UW-Stout MOC provided fresh perspective for Cardinal LG, observing the company's processes and listening to team members throughout the plant. As a result, UW-Stout MOC prioritized improvements in three areas: harps/carts, autoclaves, and trimming. Cardinal LG developed kaizen teams to tackle improvements within harps/carts and autoclaves, while UW-Stout MOC brought dramatic change to the trimming process.

To streamline that process value stream, UW-Stout MOC Project Managers Roger Gehring and Todd Edwards first measured the forces needed to trim the "interlayer," then suggested methods to reduce those forces. In a parallel effort, UW-Stout MOC suggested a "trim-free" process where automation would eliminate manual trimming of the interlayer, a concept that was met with some initial skepticism.

Proof-of-concept tests demonstrated that hands-free trimming is, indeed, a viable option of Cardinal LG. In fact, according to Gehring, recommended automation makes the company's trimming process easier, reduces variation, and increases both safety and speed. "We saw a way to remove a lot of non-value-added steps," Gehring recalls, "which yields significant benefits for Cardinal LG's people." To identify potential sources for automated trimming technology, Cardinal LG production managers and UW-Stout MOC staff are currently visiting vendors throughout the country to determine the most capable concepts and companies. The project is scheduled to "go live" in late summer 2019. 

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 12, 2021