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Saturn benefits from partnership.

Increasing numbers of manufacturers are contracting with outside companies to provide inplant chemical management programs. The Saturn complex at Spring Hill, TN, offers a comprehensive example of how a Well managed metalworking fluids program, administered by an outside company can benefit users. The Saturn program is managed by the Chicago-based Castrol Industrial Inc, which maintains an on-site office, laboratory, and technical staff within the Saturn complex to direct all aspects of chemical management.

Under a chemical management program, the manufacturing user generally buys a service rather than just the chemicals themselves. In fact, under many programs, the user does not actually buy or own any of the chemicals being used. They are the property of the supplier providing the service. This saves the user time and money in terms of purchasing and inventory because these areas become the responsibility of the supplier.

The program at Saturn covers a variety of fluids including coolants, oils, greases, and lubricants, as well as other industrial chemicals such as degreasers, die release compounds, heat treat oils, machine and floor cleaners, partswashing cleaners, rust preventives, and other products related to the metalworking fluids such as filter media. Castrol's on-site team monitors all fluids and related systems and specifies necessary chemical adjustments to stay within designated guidelines. Other on-site services provided on a continuing basis' include training programs covering the fluids and their use, Operator health and safety, environmental issues, filtration, and waste treatment.

Each morning, members of Saturn's maintenance operations staff pick up samples of coolant, cleaners, degreasers, rust preventives, and hydraulic fluids that machine and equipment operators take from their own systems.These samples are brought to Castrol's on-site laboratory where they are analyzed. If any chemicals are required to bring systems back to optimal operating condition, additive forms are filled out. These forms are transmitted to one of Saturn's fluid attendants who draws the additive from stock, deposits it into the system, and signs the form indicating completion of the addition.

Castrol maintains an ongoing record of all system deviations and additions. This is highly unusual. In conventional practice, additions are made as needed, with no historical data recorded. By observing long-term historical graphs of system status and additions, potential problems can be detected and avoided before they occur. The long-term history also aids in developing test guidelines for ongoing improvement programs.

Regular meetings between Saturn and Castrol teams aim at improving all metalworking fluid activities, including such areas as products, systems, in-plant environment, and waste elimination. These meetings are based on an agreed upon review process for operating performance analysis, action plans and followup, problem solving, and recommendations for improvements.

The non-traditional relationship between Saturn and Castrol is clearly indicated by the way day-to-day business is conducted. For example, in traditional manufacturer-vendor relationships, the vendor's goal is to sell more product, while the manufacturer's goal is to buy less. Under this program, Saturn and Castrol are partners with the common goals of reducing fluids usage, costs, and waste, as both will benefit from improved quality, productivity, and lower costs.

The level of trust and communication is exceptional. Saturn informs the Castrol team daily about plant operations, problems, and successes. For example, daily production numbers, traditionally not given to suppliers, are provided to Castrol. Likewise, Castrol provides saturn with monthly detailed cost reports on fluids used and operating expenses. When problems occur, Saturn and Castrol people work together as a team to solve them.

Saturn's Business Team Advisor, who is in charge of the powertrain metalworking fluid system, attributes much of the success of the fluids management program to the close working relationship between Saturn and Castrol people. "From our standpoint, they're working closely with us to make it happen. They're like part of our organization. We don't think of them as another company. We think of them as part of Saturn."

For more information from Castrol Industrial Inc, Chicago, IL, circle 186.
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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Solutions; Saturn Corp.'s fluid management contract with Castrol Inc.'s Castrol Industrial Inc.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:May 1, 1992
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