USFilter Electrocatalytic Products, a Siemens company, manufactures water treatment systems for commercial, industrial and municipal use. The Union, New Jersey Company is a provider of onsite hypochlorite generation and other electrochemical components and equipment designed to control biological fouling and corrosion at power plants, petrochemical facilities, ships and offshore facilities. It employs 90 people.
The company traces its roots to the 1950s development of a patented hydrogen detector by Charles Engelhard. The U.S. Navy ordered the first CAPAC® (Cathodic Protection Automatic Control) units in 1954, and widespread maritime use followed. Chloropac® electrochlorination fouling control systems were introduced in 1972, and the company expanded with new domestic and international facilities in the ensuing years.
In 1986, Engelhard sold his business to an internal management group, which named its new company Electrocatalytic, Inc. Sales of CAPAC and Chloropac units flourished for more than a decade. In 1999, USFilter purchased Electrocatalytic, integrating the business into its newly formed ChemFeed Disinfection group.
Effective July 31, 2004, Siemens acquired USFilter Corporation from its French parent company, Veolia Environnement, Paris. This acquisition positioned Siemens as the market leader in the water and wastewater treatment business in North America. The worldwide product, system and service business of USFilter with its 5,800 employees became a part of the Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) in the form of the newly formed “Water Technologies” division.
NJMEP Field Agent Paul Myerson placed a cold call to Electrocatalytic in April 2003. He learned from Vice President Roman Stetkiewych (since retired) that the company was interested in ISO 9000 registration, as it was in the process of implementing ISO.
Late in 2003, after NJMEP had delivered its ISO proposal, Electrocatalytic changed its goal to Lean Transformation at the request of Northrop Grumman, a large USFilter client. NJMEP, in conjunction with third-party resource Jerry Lynch of Sigma Design, began the project in January 2004 with Principles of Lean training as an overview. Value Stream Mapping was then performed for CAPAC electrical assembly, Anode products and the administrative area. This in turn led to various individual projects aimed at reducing non-value-added activities.
Field Agent Myerson managed the Lean Transformation to ensure that the project stayed on track and met client expectations. Participants from Electrocatalytic included Vice President of Operations Hani Bizri, David Rubinshteyn and a number of team members from various departments. The project ended in November 2004.
NJMEP is currently working with Electrocatalytic on a second Lean project, funded by a DOL training grant, to continue the Lean transformation of the Union facility. Company representatives have again expressed an interest in future implementation of ISO at the plant.
“The project was completed in a timely manner,” noted Vice President Bizri. “It has helped to instill a new culture in the factory.
“The reconfiguration of the electrical assembly area has shown a benefit of improved time and motion which is in the process of being quantified via metrics.” “The Kanban in the potting area is starting. We have built two orders for stock and we will continue.”
“With the help of NJMEP,” Bizri summarized, “we identified potential areas for improving Anode order cycle time from 20 days to 10 days, and CAPAC electrical assembly order cycle times from 20-40 days to 20-30 days. We are still in process of fully implementing those recommendations.”