STARKE COUNTY – MPI Products, LLC is taking the initiative to move forward and go green by changing their habits and finding technical solutions at their Knox, Indiana location also known as Indiana Fineblanking. The goal is to be the leader in reduction of environmental waste in Starke County. To improve, MPI has been reducing, reusing, and recycling daily materials used in production, which has created benefits such as conserving natural resources, improving Starke County’s environment, and providing job security to its employees.
Plant Manager Jim Hann has tasked Sarah Shidler to lead the company’s efforts and she has recently conducted a number of employee meetings to talk about the company’s plans and how and why they are being implemented. Hann said that, “Sarah has done a marvelous job of outlining the steps we are taking in easy to understand terms so that our employees can better understand some of the cost savings these steps can generate, not to mention the fact that these programs will reduce our use of vital resources.”
Sarah Shidler said that, “MPI is being proactive in protecting and preserving our environment and the implementation of these plans and the cooperation of our employees will go a long ways towards those efforts.” Since 2002 MPI has been able to reduce the amount of gloves, electricity, natural gas, and chemicals utilized during production. One goal is to decrease the use of electricity and gas by 5%. About 250 lamps have been changed from 450 Watt high bay lamps to 230 Watt LED lamps. The new LEDs use 50% less electricity and also have a 50% higher illumination. The life span is longer and the lamps do not degrade as quickly. Lights are being turned off in areas such as offices, bathrooms, and break rooms, when they are not occupied. Conveyors, fans, lights, vibrators, pumps, and motors will be shut down if not scheduled to run. A new program is being implemented to automatically shut off hydraulic machines after idling for 30 minutes. The air makeup unit and seven roof exhaust fans have been upgraded to high efficiency motors, which move air throughout the plant.
Solutions to help with gas usage include keeping doors closed on washers and shutting down lines completely if not in use. MPI has made an approved chemical change with one of its customers and is currently working with three other customers to change. The new chemical provides three times more rust prevention, last twice as long and at the same time runs at a lower temperature resulting in less evaporation. Automatic RP meters have been installed on the wash lines to improve consistency on washers and help eliminate waste from being generated. The RP meters automatically check the RP levels and make adjustments as needed. These systems help keep the process in control and consistent.
A 200 HP water cooled air compressor has been changed out to a 200 HP high efficiency air cooled unit. This reduced the amount of water used by the company, which was more than 50 times the average family of four uses monthly. The company is also working on reducing the amount of process water that it generates, as it is hauled away to another site for treatment, which causes a rather large expenditure. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation has assisted the company in its efforts to reduce its process water as well.
Part Two of the MPI program is to reuse several items before discarding them. The main materials that will be reused are belts, mop heads, VCI bags, oil, absorbent mats, and skids. To cut down on waste the company is going to use the full life of the belts by reusing larger belts on lines that run smaller parts. This technique will save over 100,000 pounds from going to a landfill while at the same time using 100% of the belt’s life. MPI is providing training on belts from belt suppliers, and labeling machines for each belt type.
Last year over 1,100 mop heads were disposed of and sent to landfills; this year zero will be disposed of but reused. Maintenance has tracked the amount of hydraulic oil used daily on each press, and has a system to report major and minor leaks right away to maintain efficiency.
Part Three of this program is to recycle and that effort includes paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, glass, plastic, aluminum, and steel.
MPI is taking a step forward to help Starke County and be a leader in reduction of environmental waste. The improvements will be more efficient for the environment and the plant and production being done. In addition, with the cost savings being generated with these programs, MPI is reinvesting in its Knox plant both now and in the future to help secure and retain jobs here in Starke County.
The Starke County Development Foundation is a not-for-profit local economic development organization (LEDO) providing economic development opportunities on behalf of Starke County, Indiana, the City of Knox, and the Towns of North Judson and Hamlet through the development of industrial parks, rail spurs, greenfield sites, shovel-ready sites, infrastructure and workforce development. For more information regarding Starke County Development Foundation, visit www.starkecounty.com.
ABOUT MPI PRODUCTS, LLC
MPI is a global leader in the technology of fineblanking. Since its foundation in 1969, MPI has grown steadily under stable leadership, sound business practices, and a corporate culture that strives to be the best within their industry. The core of their organizational strength resides in the knowledge, dedication, and values of their people. Today, MPI is a highly competent supplier of sophisticated components and subassemblies. The value of their products is complemented by a broad scope of manufacturing capabilities. For more information regarding MPI Products, LLC, visit www.mpiproducts.com.