Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012 - (Page 82)
www.styrochem.com / 2011 revenues: $100 million+ / Locations: Montreal and Fort Worth, Texas / Employees: 75 / Specialty: Expandable polystyrene products / Glenn Wredenhagen, president: “We want to focus on providing value for our customers and products that make money.”
clients. “It is a very favorable mix for us,” he asserts. Amongst StyroChem’s newest products is EVRgreen™, an EPS resin that is used to produce a polystyrene foam cup that can degrade in a landfill in 10 years, which is hundreds of years shorter than it usually takes, Wallum says. This is ideal for those interested in environmentally safe products.
StyroChem has continuously focused on improving its manufacturing operations. According to Wredenhagen, the company implemented lean manufacturing in its operations five years ago, and has not stopped looking for ways to become more efficient. “We’re always getting leaner,” he says, noting that lean was critical to surviving the economic crisis. “If it had not been for that, I don’t think any of us would be in North America right now. I think the ones who are left have learned to live lean.” Additionally, StyroChem’s Montreal plant is fully “fly by wire,” where all manufacturing activities, inventory and logistics can be monitored real time from anywhere in the world by any level of management. Because of this platform, all managers and technical people can be contacted and consulted at any time of the day or night. By simply opening their laptops, they can be immediately immersed in the process. Feedback and problem resolution is real time and immediate. StyroChem also has implemented automated equipment throughout its operations. “That makes the material extremely consistent,” Wallum says. “We’ve developed quality standards that exceed ISO and QS.” In addition, the products are checked for quality in “real time.” “The testing is built into the process,” Wallum says. “As soon as it is packaged, within 30 minutes, they know the quality of the material.” General Manager Marc
styrochem manufactures products for many markets, including foodservice, packaging and construction.
A Favorable Mix
styrochem has found success making eps products for a variety of industries. by alan dorich
Some manufacturers are rigid in their ways and resistant to change, but not StyroChem. The expandable polystyrene (EPS) manufacturer remains successful by maintaining an ability to customize for its clients. “We’re [more] willing to take on harder challenges than other manufacturers in our industry, such as customizing formulations,” says Melissa Wallum, director of technology and specialty sales. “[That] is something our competitors have shied away from.” StyroChem, which has locations in Montreal and Fort Worth, Texas, manufactures its EPS products for foodser82
manufacturing-today.com WINTER 2012
vice, packaging, construction, casting and specialty applications. The firm began operations in 1978 as Expandable Technologies, and initially produced material for foam coffee cups. Throughout the years, the company branched out into other EPS applications and implemented the StyroChem name in 1994. “We cover every application that EPS is used in,” she says, noting that these include cups as well as material for a six-cylinder engine for BMW. “We specialize in the more technically demanding markets.” However, President Glenn Wredenhagen notes, 70 percent of StyroChem’s work is for foodservice
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012
Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012
Applied Energy Solutions
Carter Control Systems
Global Technology Systems
Tampa Tank Inc./Florida Structural Steel
Fullerton Tool Co. Inc.
Honda of South Carolina
Sapa Extrusions North America
ACE Controls Inc.
Vendors Exchange International Inc.
EXEL North America
Capewell Components Co.
U.S. Sugar Corp.
Industrial Magnetics Inc.
Lakeside Plastics Ltd.
Norpak Handling Ltd.
Mid-State Machine Products
TenCate Protective Fabrics
The Dupps Co.
Western Manufacturing Ltd.
Wisconsin Plastics Inc.
LaSalle Bristol LP
DAP Products Inc.
Honsa Ergonomic Technologies Inc.
Engineered Material Solutions LLC
Master Spas Inc.
U.S. Chemical & Plastics Inc.
Votaw Precision Technologies
Banker Steel Co.
Manufacturing Today - Winter 2012