Lean manufacturing is helping Elipticon Wood Products increase its productivity and profitability in today’s tough economy. The Little Chute, WI-based custom millwork company’s sales grew almost 10 percent between 2007 and 2008, and the company is predicting a double-digit increase for 2009.

Elipticon produces arches, circles, ellipses, half rounds, ovals, rosettes and other specialty millwork for residential and other applications. According to company President John Wiley, the company invested approximately $8,000 in its conversion to lean manufacturing, including $40,000 overall in improvements at the 17,000-square-foot facility. With input from its lean committee members, Wiley said the company has already made 61 improvements throughout the facility, resulting in a cost savings of $50,000 to $60,000 and a reduction in turnaround time from two weeks to 24 hours.

One cost saving has been a switch to electronic billing, a move, which Wiley said, not only saved the company more than $1,500 in stamps, but also “gained us two days on cash flow.” The company now also purchases pre-ripped lumber for some common species, resulting in less material waste during the machining process. Elipticon also invested in new technology to further improve its productivity and quality. Among the items recently purchased are: a Baker resaw, a new clamping system and a Weinig Opticontrol measuring system for tooling. In addition, the company utilizes a Komo CNC router, a Weinig moulder which is used in conjunction with a Raimann ripsaw, an SCMI sander and a Wintersteiger saw.

Elipticon was recently featured in the August issue of Wood & Wood Products, as part of its WOOD 100 series on fast-growing companies.

Watch a video of the CNC router in action.

For more information, visit www.elipticon.com

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The next WCMA Fall Conference & Plant Tour Event will take place Oct. 3-5, 2010, in Williamsport, PA. Contact the WCMA at wcma@woodcomponents.org, or visit www.woodcomponents.org

A Weinig moulder in the shop at Elipticon Wood Products, a company that makes custom millwork.

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