Liquid Measurement Systems expands their factory operations
Liquid Measurement Systems (LMS) began in 1989 with one big idea – replace the heavy metal tubes in fuel probes with graphite composite. It was lighter, more durable and would not corrode. Manufacturing of these new probes began shortly thereafter with the understanding that everything was to be done with the highest attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship. LMS expanded into signal conditioners and fuel gauges, adding manufacturing and engineering staff. In 2006, the company moved to its current location in Georgia, Vermont where they currently develop and manufacture systems that are trusted for use in many of today’s aircraft including the Chinook, Blackhawk, Apache, Comanche, LittleBird, Cobra, Huey and S92. With 30 employees on staff, their state-of-the-art components are developed to withstand the toughest conditions having been put through the most stringent testing procedures to ensure their success in the field.
With the rapid growth in recent business, LMS determined they needed additional manufacturing space. Having purchased their current building location, the need to utilize the unused space in its best possible way was most important. Contact to VMEC was made, as Don Paul, PMA, had worked with LMS previously on projects through their growth and had the insight into their operations and would be able to provide the best and most adequate perspective.
Layout, flow lines, value stream mapping, standardization and problem solving were issues determined and addressed through the expansion process in dealing with the space available. Both LMS and VMEC worked closely together in the process.
The most significant impact in the new manufacturing layout is the reduction in overall production time. LMS previously produced in small batches; now they produce in three dedicated flow lines. On this journey, they discovered that a certain level of inventory was required because of their long vendor lead times. The change in their process layout and workforce cross training has provided them with some of the successes of this project such as production of AC probes (previously 4 hours, now 2 hours) and DC probes (previously 2 hours, now 1.2 hours) as well as signal conditioners which accounted for 3.5-7.5 hours / unit being cut to 1.7-4.5 hours/ unit. Indicators production time was significantly reduced, from a previous 8 hours/ unit to 3.2 hours/ unit. In addition to production time decreases, there have been substantial cuts in lead times, most significantly the overall lead time of 1-2 weeks, which is now 3-5 days. Individual component lead times are DC probes (10 days to 5 days), AC probes (5 days to 2 days), Signal Conditioners (5-10 days to 2-5 days) and Indicators (5 days to 2 days).
Bill O’brien, Manufacturing Manager at LMS states “working with VMEC over the past few years has provided us with the necessary roadmap to transform the way in which we produce our products. This journey has brought us to a place where LMS has been able to reduce customer lead time, improve overall efficiencies, and take on new product lines with our current staffing.”