Sandvik Coromant, part of the Sandvik group headquartered in Sandviken, Sweden, has received the 2022 IndustryWeek Best Plants Award for its Westminster, South Carolina, USA, production site. The award recognises the carbide manufacturing facility’s operational excellence, customer focus and ongoing employee engagement.
Serving such technically demanding industries as automotive and aerospace, the 30,500 m2 production facility reconditions solid round cutting tools and manufactures more than 2,300 standard and customised cemented carbide inserts, as well as more than fifty grades of ready-to-press powder and press tools.
Each year the manufacturing trade publication IndustryWeek (IW) invites companies to apply for the award. Candidates are selected by a panel of IW editors and external experts and are judged on practice and performance factors. These factors include performance measurement, management practices, employee empowerment, customer focus, manufacturing operations and flexibility, and environment and safety programmes.
Sandvik Coromant explains that it has spent more than twenty years improving its Westminster facility and empowering its people. The company has invested over $200 million in the production centre, which has positioned Sandvik Coromant to understand its customers’ metalworking and machining application needs and to provide comprehensive customer support when needed.
The factory’s high automation and advanced technology are said to not only drive production but also serve Sandvik Coromant’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. As part of its Green Factory initiatives, the facility and its production equipment have undergone a digital transformation to better meet its 2030 energy reduction goals. Its building management system analyses and controls key utility and production parameters, resulting in greater energy efficiency and overall equipment effectiveness. Renewable energy credits will power its total electricity consumption through 2024, supporting its goal to halve its carbon emissions, while efforts such as ethanol recycling contribute to its goal of greater than 90% waste circularity. The company has also recycled 245 tons in 2019 and 219 tons in 2020.
In addition to its environmental commitments, Sandvik Coromant states that it also has a responsibility to its employees. The Westminster site invests in the continuous improvement of its staff with all employees having a learning and development plan. A mature safety programme ensures employees know how to work as safely as possible, and personnel are encouraged to report unsafe conditions into a global database so the conditions may be corrected and preventive actions implemented. A special programme also provides space for employees to contribute and implement ideas to improve various aspects of the business, including process, quality and cost. As a result of employee suggestions, the facility saved $222,200 in the last year alone.
“We are incredibly proud of our Westminster facility and honoured to receive the IndustryWeek Best Plants Award,” stated Arun Pattanaik, Production Unit Director at Sandvik Coromant. “Through the participation and engagement of our people, we’ve continuously improved our production unit and have achieved fantastic results. This award is proof of that accomplishment.”