VAC AERO's Oakville, Ontario, Thermal Processing Division recently completed an extensive plant reorganization based on lean- and green-manufacturing concepts. The project included building renovations to create more production space, the addition of new work-handling and production capacity, safety enhancements and energy-efficiency improvements in lighting and power consumption. The completion of the reorganization was timed to coincide with the commissioning of VAC AERO's fourth large vacuum oil-quench furnace, designed and built by the company's Furnace Manufacturing Division. The new furnace will add significant capacity to the Oakville vacuum oil-quench operation.

VAC AERO invested more than $400,000 in the reorganization, a portion of which was subsidized by a provincial government grant. Lean-manufacturing techniques that were implemented in the reorganization included Kanban systems, 5S and visual signals. The company has also been working in close partnership with customers on value-stream mapping and smoothing production flow.