Behind the Scenes at NSI

North Star Imaging Blog

Andy Goenner

Project Manager

Many of our customers, vendors and friends in the industry have had the opportunity to visit North Star Imaging and taken a tour of our facilities. From our original site in St. Paul to the “new” location in Rogers Minnesota, NSI has been expanding its company footprint both domestically and internationally. Since moving into the 71,000 sq ft Rogers facility, the company has grown from occupying less than a quarter of the building to expanding into the entire space. As with most companies, growth comes with smart development and change.

The operations team has recently taken a significant next step to help better align our building with how we manufacture our systems. In the past our process flow was not optimal, often requiring non-value added movements of a machine through the building from fabrication to paint, back to fabrication and then on to final assembly and integration. This process often induced a disruption in production to allow for these moves, which not only affected the system itself but also nearby systems.

Warehouse layout before the changes

(Image 1: Warehouse layout before the changes)

The first phase of our manufacturing process change included researching the in-lining process. We worked with our ITW sister companies to better understand some of the pitfalls that they endured while going through a similar phase within their own product groups. In December of 2016, we started knocking down walls which once separated the facility production areas. We also erected a new wall to enclose our service and R&D areas.

The removal of walls between manufacturing bays created an open floor manufacturing concept. This allows for higher visibility of product flow and maximizes our space available. A new paint booth has also been integrated into the building along with sub-assembly build stations for component assembly. Integration of additional inline quality audits will ensure that sub-assemblies meet our quality standards prior to integration in the system. This will increase our overall product quality and help reduce build schedules.

(Image 2: Warehouse layout after changes)

What does this mean to you as a customer? By standardizing our equipment portfolio, we can increase the overall quality of the equipment, reduce the time to build a machine, allowing us to put more focus on product improvements and new product development.

While you are here for one of our expert training sessions, application studies or to check out our newest product, the X3000, we invite you to come up, take a tour and see the great changes happening in our operations group!

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