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Enhancing capabilities and streamlining processes at Zeon Chemicals.

Zeon Chemicals produces a range of specialty elastomers for the automotive industry. The leading producer of specialty elastomers in the United States, Zeon makes Nipol[R] NBR, HyTemp[R] and Nipol ACM, Hydrin[R] ECO and Zetpol[R] HNBR, which are used in the manufacture of hoses, seals, gaskets, belts and other parts for automotive, industrial, oil field, and printing markets.

Serving customers from its three U.S. plants, Zeon strives to provide top-of-the-line products for a wide range of applications. As part of this effort, the company continually works internally to streamline its processes, enhancing Zeon's offerings and capabilities.

Streamlining tools such as lean manufacturing, six sigma and theory of constraints have become commonplace in a range of industries. But, in the chemical arena Zeon Chemicals has taken the lead with its manufacturing optimization program.

Introduced to its three U.S. plants late in 2001, Zeon's manufacturing optimization program incorporates all three of the techniques mentioned above. The program is designed to enhance product quality and control costs, while also maintaining Zeon's rapid response time and the high level of customer service that sets it apart from the competition.

A world-class manufacturer of synthetic rubber, Zeon Chemicals has already achieved a significant improvement in processes. In fact, in the last 12 months of implementation, Zeon's efforts to streamline its production methods have resulted in 237% of its targeted goal.

Dave Dargan, Zeon's Vice President of Manufacturing Operations, said, "Efforts to fully utilize these processes reflect the company's continued commitment to the success of its customers, employees, shareholders and community."

Managers at the Louisville, Kentucky, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Pasadena, Texas plants have focused much of their initial efforts on lean manufacturing and the reduction of waste. With 18 active teams in place, each facility is setting processes in motion to enhance quality and safety, eliminate non-value-added activities, reduce the finished goods inventory and ultimately deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction possible.

Zeon's optimization program extends beyond the manufacturing sector of its business. Its streamlining techniques are being incorporated in all areas of the company, including the administrative and sales departments.

"Educating our people about these manufacturing concepts has helped to establish new ways of thinking in all departments. By setting and sustaining performance standards, our employees will become more successful in their respective positions," said Dawson Wilkerson, Hattiesburg, MS Plant Manager.

These new manufacturing concepts enhance skills already familiar at the Zeon plants. The 5-S theory which focuses on improvements through a five-step process of sort, store, shine, standardize and sustain was introduced to employees to improve quality and safety, and minimize waste.

Zeon's efforts to streamline its manufacturing practices will help ensure that the company meets its goal of providing the highest level of performance to its customers across all of its product lines, including synthetic rubber, petrochemical products and new business lines.

Zeon Chemicals L.P. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeon Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, a world leader in specialty elastomers, polymers and specialty chemicals. Zeon Chemicals is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and is the leading producer of specialty elastomers in the USA.

For more information about any of Zeon's products, contact Mike Recchio, Director of Marketing, at 877-ASK-ZEON or, by e-mail at

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Publication:Rubber World
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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