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Filtrine Manufacturing Company Embraces Lean to Ensure Customer Satisfaction


It was 1901 when George Kneuper patented a new filter medium using molecular attraction to remove microscopic particles from water. He called it “Filtrine” and founded the Filtrine Manufacturing Company out of a small brick building in Brooklyn, New York. In 1918 he sold the company to Charles Hansel and thus began the Hansel family ownership of Filtrine. Then in 1925 they began to diversify by manufacturing one of the first electric coolers and introduced the storage-type cooling tank.

Located in a 100,008-square-foot facility in Keene, New Hampshire, since 1998, Filtrine has 88 employees. Filtrine is the leading manufacturer of high quality, custom built drinking water filtration, drinking fountains, drinking water systems and chillers. Their products span a wide variety of applications in the markets of military, aerospace, medical, laboratory, food processing, commercial, office building, oil and gas, and educational and religious institutions just to name a few.

The Challenge

“The major issue that had been getting more difficult for us over the last 15 years was, customers wanted things faster,” said Turner Hansel, President of Filtrine. “So we looked into our processes to see where we can cut down our time. We found out engineering was holding things up.” Filtrine. needed to cut 2 weeks out of engineering but did not know how.

We were able to schedule in-house training by NH MEP at various times and at our convenience so more of our employees could be trained. This facilitated a company-wide commitment to the principles of lean manufacturing. While we continue to implement these principles, we have been able to cut the time to engineer and develop production documents without sacrificing accuracy.
— Turner Hansel, President

MEP's Role

A representative from NH MEP, part of the MEP National Network™, happened to reach out to Filtrine about training programs for manufacturers in New Hampshire. Filtrine zeroed in on NH MEP’s on-site Principles of Lean Manufacturing training. “We looked to NH MEP to show us a better way of creating a path for streamlining our engineering and getting our products to our customers more quickly,” said Hansel.

NH MEP’s on-site Principles of Lean Manufacturing training gave Filtrine employees a hands-on introduction to the newest interpretations of Principles of Lean Manufacturing, along with the methodology for implementing them into a modern manufacturing environment. Participants in the training acted as employees of the fictitious Time Wise, Inc. Clock Factory. They experienced the impact of lean techniques as elimination of waste, improved material flow, 5S workplace organization, cellular flow, value stream mapping, the benefits of teamwork, assuring quality at the source, inspection and mistake-proofing at the source, and the impact of vendor-related activities in an integrated supply chain. The simulated learning environment let participants experience a complete lean transformation and provided them the knowledge on how to implement lean principles throughout Filtrine.

Created July 23, 2021