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Unusual approaches to quality: resin suppliers' 'total quality' programs are producing some creative efforts.

Unusual Approaches to Quality

Your materials suppliers have been talking a lot about quality lately, and there's plenty of evidence in the story on p. 74 that many of them mean it. As further evidence. I'd like to cite three examples of how the continuing search for "Total Quality" is producing some innovative approaches to delivery of goods and services.

* The problem was to deliver tank-truck shipments of liquid unsaturated polyester resins at the customer-specified temperature, regardless of the season or distance from the producing plant. Tankers are not internally temperature controlled when they're on the road, and they cannot always hit the road immediately after filling. The solution was the "Tanker Temperature Maintenance Program" developed by the Valparaiso, Inc., plant of Owens-Corning Fiberglas. For each customer and each month of the year, plant manager Kevin Kerner has a precalculated tanker departure temperature. To ensure that the tanker leaves at that temperature, regardless of when it is loaded, the trailer is hooked up to a system that circulates water/glycol fluid mixture at the proper temperature until the truck departs.

* Following conventional practice, the original plans for the newest polypropylene plant at Texas Eastman Div. of Eastman Chemical Products in Longview, Texas, had 10 million lb of storage-bin capacity. This was intended to receive PP from the pelletizing lines and be used for blending to achieve consistency before transferring the material to railcar loading bins. But the high consistency of the Unipol PP production process suggested the alternative of transferring material directly from pelletizer to car loading bins, resulting in less handling, less generation of fines, and less opportunity for contamination. "We knew that many quality problems came from over-transferring material," says assistant superintendent James Lewis. "So we converted from vertical to horizontal storage--using railcars as storage containers."

* Himont U.S.A. wants to solve customers' problems before they occur, with a special proactive technical-service program involving an elite corps of eight "Client Support Engineers." According to technical service manager Richard C. Miller, a CSE averages more than 25 years' experience, is dedicated to six to eight "client" plants, visits each one at least twice a month for a full day, and makes sure to observe all shifts occasionally. A CSE doesn't wait to be called, but rather serves as a freelance consultant, trainer and troubleshooter, and an advocate representing the client's viewpoint to Himont's manufacturing people.
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Article Details
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Author:Naitove, Matthew H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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