PLYMOUTH, Mich., Jan. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Theodore G. Duclos, president of Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies, was recently named a 2015 Automotive Leadership Award winner by The Detroit Free Press. Duclos was honored in the Labor & Manufacturing Leadership category for his work to push traditional manufacturing to the next level of lean thinking with Single Cavity Molding.
"I am humbled and honored to receive this award," Duclos said. "Innovative manufacturing technologies, and the companies and people who pursue them, are crucial to the ongoing success of American industry. It is great to see them receive the recognition they deserve."
Single Cavity Molding is an unique plant floor technology based upon the fundamentals of lean manufacturing. Under Duclos' guidance, Freudenberg-NOK has begun to implement this powerful transformation away from batch production and toward leaner, cleaner one-at-a-time molding operations. The process has the potential to revolutionize global manufacturing systems and results in higher precision, less waste, improved automation, cost savings and safer working conditions for employees. Duclos was put in charge of Freudenberg-NOK's lean manufacturing programs in 2004.
Now being implemented and used in a number of Freudenberg-NOK plants, Single Cavity Molding can shorten lead times, increase the flexibility of the company's industrial presses, improve component quality and reduce excess inventory. These innovations translate into value for customers. A two-year study of automotive seals made using the process found a 20 percent improvement in quality with similar cost savings.
Duclos' unique background – he holds a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford and a master's and Ph.D. from Duke in biomedical engineering – has been an important foundation in his push to instill innovative thinking and programs across Freudenberg-NOK.
While Freudenberg-NOK has long been recognized as a leader in implementing lean manufacturing systems, Duclos realized that over time the company had reached an improvement plateau and was unable to get around the limits of the manufacturing technology it was using.
Acknowledging that the most efficient systems in the world were also some of the simplest, he introduced the concept of Single Cavity Molding.
The company's Findlay, Ohio operations became ground zero for implementation. Today, the plant is a benchmark for the approach, maintaining a 98.5 percent first pass product quality yield, a 99 percent customer retention rate and a 98 percent on-time delivery record.
Duclos joined Freudenberg-NOK in 1996 and was promoted to president of the organization last year.
Now in its fourth year and judged by a panel of independent experts, The Detroit Free Press Automotive Leadership Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in 10 categories for individuals, teams or firms that have demonstrated exceptional leadership.
About Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is the Americas joint venture between Freudenberg and Co. in Germany and NOK Corp. in Japan. Freudenberg-NOK is a leading producer of advanced sealing technologies for a variety of markets including: aerospace; agriculture; appliance; automotive; construction; diesel engine; energy; food and beverage; heavy industry; and pharmaceutical. Founded in 1989 under the legal name Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership, Freudenberg-NOK is headquartered in Plymouth, Mich. and operates more than 20 facilities across the Americas. For additional information, please visit www.fnst.com.
SOURCE Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies