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Robotics Case Studies

Polywood, LLC

Applied Manufacturing Technologies

BACKGROUND

Poly-Wood, LLC is an innovative outdoor furniture company whose mission began in 1990 with two high school friends in an Indiana garage who posed the question, “what happens to all the milk jugs that get recycled?”. These friends, Doug Rassi and Mark Phillabaum, had a vision for creating game-changing, high-quality outdoor furniture out of recyclable lumber. From that vision, POLYWOOD Furniture was created. Twenty-six years later, with 42 different types of furniture offered on their website, Poly-Wood requires the utmost flexibility in their manufacturing process. To improve their efficiency they contacted AMT to engage in an engineering study to develop a process that could produce a high volume of one product.

THE CHALLENGE

Poly-Wood is focused on delivering on-demand durable outdoor furniture containing a high amount of recycled HDPE content. The goal was to provide process guidance resulting in low inventory, maximized efficiency, reduced waste and ultimately delivering high-quality furniture days within a customer’s order being placed.

OUR PART

Poly-Wood was looking at ways of improving their manufacturing processes. After contacting several companies for solutions AMT was asked to quote the project. Immediately Poly-Wood noticed the other vendors who quoted the project did their estimates from a distance, never fully engaging with the Poly-Wood team; whereas AMT was on site asking for full details of a “day in the life” at Poly-Wood and the process in question. Poly-Wood noted this was a “stark contrast” to what AMT’s competition had offered and had established a good working relationship very quickly with the AMT Team, leading to a deeper understanding of what was required.

PROCESS

AMT jumped into the process to see where production changes could be made and begin to apply our Advanced Engineering investigative process to the Poly-Wood manufacturing line. We could see right from our first conversations and site visit to the Poly-Wood campus that this was the type of company that is dedicated to success. We were able to work with their team to access their current challenges in manufacturing as well as what they were going to face in the future. Excited to see a company that understands the value of planning for success in manufacturing, we engaged Poly-Wood in the AME process and it delivered!

THE END RESULT

Poly-Wood discovered by considering AMT analysis their process was not ripe for automation yet. As a fast-growing company they will need to wait until product demand and sales volumes match the production capacity of an automated system in order to keep a balance in their manufacturing process. Learning how central process is to their organization, the Poly-Wood team has begun to implement process solutions suggested by AMT to increase throughput and efficiency. “Our time spent with AMT gave us the best possible outcome; we received a good honest look at our processes and a production plan for future growth.”

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