Lean manufacturing has become a way of life at Admiral Packaging Inc.
The Providence, R.I., company which prints and converts thin-gauge plastics films and distributes plastic bags and pouches has significantly cut waste and improved efficiency, investing in $10 million worth of new equipment since 2005.
We give customers exactly what they want, President Harley Frank said in a Sept. 3 e-mail. Anything the customer isn't willing to pay for is non-value-added or waste.
The food, pet food, chemicals and fertilizer, and personal-care industries are Admiral's main customers.
The company's capabilities include side-weld, handle, tape closure, compartment, grommet, zipper, and die-cut bags. Its stand-up, resealable pouches may be rectangular, three-side seal or gusseted stand-up pouches, with or without zippers.
Founded in 1898 as Union Paper and Stationary Co., the company is in its fourth generation of family ownership and has been converting since 1954. Its corporate campus includes seven buildings covering 220,000 square feet on a 5-acre lot.
In addition to two Windmoeller & Hoelscher flexographic presses capable of handling 52- and 59-inch film widths, and one computer-to-screen, 80-inch, water-based press, Admiral operates a Nordmeccanica 60-inch laminator, two Ashe 63-inch slitters, digital plate-making equipment, and Ro-An bag and pouch machines.
The firm has full-service digital pre-press capability and an on-site lab. Admiral's annual sales are about $25 million. It employs 75.
Recently, Admiral renovated 120,000 square feet of its plant which is on the National Register of Historic Places into high-end office space.
As part of the renovations, every window in the historic mill complex was replaced with energy-efficient windows. Frank said the improvement will reduce the company's carbon dioxide equivalent by more than 1.1 million tons per year.
An old steam boiler that burned over 20,000 gallons of fuel oil each winter was replaced with clean-burning natural gas burners, which Frank estimates will reduce sulfur emissions by 1 ton per year and will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 165 tons annually.
A system of looped glycol chillers will eliminate Admiral's dependency on more than 1 million gallons of well water annually. Replacing two antiquated catalytic oxidizers with a low- energy, regenerative thermo model will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 440 tons per year, he said.
Lean manufacturing has become the corporate lifestyle and an important component in every aspect of the business, Frank said. This has allowed us to significantly improve our on-time delivery and has also allowed us to become more competitive in the marketplace with reduced prices while maintaining, and in some cases improving, our margins.
Admiral has applied for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.