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Heath Tecna

Lean and Green Saves Heath Tecna $125,000

Heath Tecna

Heath Tecna

The Company
Heath Tecna, Inc. (now part of Zodiac Aerospace) manufactures composite interior parts for airplanes, such as closets and overhead bins. The Bellingham company will save $125,000 each year because they added environmental waste reduction to their Lean manufacturing efforts. They cut their dangerous waste by 18,000 pounds per year, and reduced their use of toxic materials by 400 pounds per year.

"This program has proven financially and ecologically successful and I am proud of the work we have collectively achieved."
Angela Davis, Manufacturing Engineering Manager

The Results
The company worked with the Department of Ecology and Impact Washington on four Lean and Green events. As a result, Heath Tecna:

  • Reduced adhesive purge use for more than $40,000 annual savings.
  • Reduced core sheet scrap for $35,000 annual savings.
  • Reduced dangerous waste disposal by 18,000 pounds, saving $25,000 annually.
  • Eliminated use of 400 pounds of a toxic product by switching delivery systems.
  • Cut one day from the production time.
  • Saved 10,000 gallons of water per day.

How They Did It
Heath Tecna frequently uses standard Lean events to improve its manufacturing. In 2012, the company joined with Ecology and Impact Washington for four Lean and Green events. The “Lean Team” started by analyzing the company’s operations in detail. The analysis revealed where the company could minimize the amount of dangerous waste, scrap material, and defects in products.

Employees on the shop floor were putting items that were not dangerous waste into the dangerous waste disposal containers, increasing the amount of material that had to be disposed of as dangerous waste. This increased the amounts going to the more expensive dangerous waste disposal.

The company uses a two-part epoxy from a syringe system for the adhesive that creates the composite sheets. The Lean team’s analysis determined the most efficient way to purge new syringes and standardized that throughout the shop.

The company had been buying a toxic anodizing product in bulk, but could not use it up before the product expired and had to be disposed. The Lean Team determined that small “pens” of the product worked just as well, so they could stop buying in bulk. This eliminated the use of 400 pounds of the toxic product per year. Less product used means better protection for the environment. It also saved $700 in purchase costs and reduced the company’s dangerous waste disposal costs.

Next, the team analyzed how the core sheets were cut into the needed parts. By using larger sheets and improving the layouts for many of the parts, they greatly increased yield from each sheet and reduced the scrap.


Reconfiguring the layout of the parts cutting templates
makes more efficient use of materials.

Finally, the team focused on defect reduction. They looked at non-conformance report data and determined which piece of equipment generated the majority of the defects. From this, they determined a way for the equipment to constantly monitor defects and quality. If the monitoring shows a defect, such as an incompletely glued sheet, the equipment operator can remove it from the line. Without this capability, defective sheets would continue on the manufacturing line, which would waste the following workers’ time and materials.

The team also metered water use and found that the water pressure on the facility’s vacuum pumps was much higher than necessary. They installed a pressure regulator to optimize the water pressure while still meeting specifications. In addition, the company is realizing water and cost savings from installing low flow toilets and fixtures. Eventually this will save the company $25,000 per year.

Contacts and Resources
Lean and Green at the Department of Ecology
Heath Tecna, Inc.
Impact Washington
US EPA Lean Manufacturing Resources