Ripley Machine & Tool Company

Facility Expansion

> RESULTS

  • Plant expansion completed in less than six months
  • 15-20% estimated increased capacity
  • 34% reduction in work & material travel distance
  • Four pieces of new machinery acquired
  • Improved inventory control
  • Reduction in overtime costs

> COMPANY

Ripley Machine & Tool Company is a machine shop that serves numerous industrial accounts in the northeast and Texas. The primary activity is the machining of aluminum and iron castings used in the production of valves for air compressors. These components are sold to a single, major OEM account in Erie, PA. Secondary product lines include the production of turnings from bar stock and center-less grinding for a number of industrial customers within the region.

Founded in 1956, Ripley Machine & Tool has been owned by Quentin Bensink since 1996. During this period the business has grown steadily by providing value-added services and consistent quality to an entrenched group of customers. The company currently employs 24 people including 16 non-union production workers. Manufacturing operations are conducted on a single shift within the one-story facility located in Ripley, New York.

> SITUATION

The company had been realizing steady business growth. Bensink projected compounded sales increases of 10% annually for the next five years. It was becoming increasing apparent that the 8,000 square foot facility was inadequate to absorb this rate of business expansion. This situation was further exacerbated by the need to add 2-3 pieces of production equipment in the short term. Effective production flow and material handling were already difficult because of the cramped conditions within the facility - without the installation of additional production equipment. Bensink realized that a facility expansion was an immediate necessity if Ripley Machine & Tool were to meet the current and future volume demands of the business.

> SOLUTION

Insyte Consulting was engaged to assist in the facility expansion and to ensure that the planned addition could be completed within six months.

The first step was to evaluate the product flow through specific work centers to identify opportunities to smooth the overall work flow through the shop. This analysis was based on both current and projected volumes for both machined castings and metal turnings. Relationship diagrams were also developed between the work centers for the purpose of ultimately reducing move distances. In addition, there was a desire to segregate several small product offerings that took excessive floor space in the production area. This analysis helped in the evaluation and confirmation of the square footage expansion required to meet current and future production volumes. This was determined to be an additional 8,000 square feet, which effectively doubled the production area.

Once the size of the expansion was established, the next step was to develop several high-level layout options. These were subsequently reviewed with the joint team of company and Insyte Consulting participants. Upon selection of the optimal layout alternative, a detailed layout was developed that included both the old and expanded areas of the building. This entire process was completed in several weeks which allowed an immediate start to construction activities. Insyte Consulting subsequently supported project management activities during construction by effectively interfacing with architects, construction personnel, riggers, utility companies and other external resources involved in the project.

Upon completion of the expansion, numerous machines were moved within both the old and new areas of the building. Smoother production flow was immediately realized because of the revised layout. This facilitated material handling activities, particularly when moving work-in-process and finished goods within the facility. Material travel distance was reduced by 34%. In addition, the expanded layout greatly improved inventory control. By eliminating the aforementioned cramped conditions, Ripley Machine & Tool was able to acquire two vertical machining centers and two CNC horizontal lathes. It is estimated that production capacity has been increased by 15-20% as a result of the expansion. This will enable the company to aggressively pursue new business while maintaining or improving service and support to current accounts.

According to Quentin Bensink, "The work performed by Insyte Consulting was not only thorough and comprehensive, but it also enabled us to complete the project quickly and with virtually no disruptions to normal production activities."


"The work performed by Insyte Consulting was not only thorough and comprehensive, but it also enabled us to complete the project quickly and with virtually no disruptions to normal production activities." - Quentin Bensink, President