Mastergear - Driving Industry



Photo: Mastergear subsea gearboxes

Mastergear worm de-clutch

Mastergear MD Ron Cowley despatching one of the largest products in the range, a 2310Kg M200 Gearbox
What happens when a 100 year old company meets the challenges of a global market? Simple: you re-engineer the business with a new strategy, new product innovation, and global manufacturing facilities using Lean and Six Sigma.

But of course it’s not that easy, as Ron Cowley, MD of Mastergear Group explains. "Our customers increasingly operate worldwide, so we have to be able to respond wherever they’re located. That led us to review all our processes, and to develop a strategy of regional service on a global platform, with manufacturing in the UK, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, USA and China."

A long-established brand, Mastergear is the world’s largest manufacturer of gearboxes for valves, ranging from the very smallest (125Nm) to some of the largest (500,000 Nm) in the world. The company’s valve actuators are used in applications from oil, gas and water distribution and treatment to chemical processing. Environmental specifications include low temperature, fire safe, and new patented "intelligently compensating" gearbox technology for the most extreme deep sea applications (in excess of 4000m).

Following a strategy that’s now driven by specific customer demand, Mastergear restructured from batch to one piece flow manufacturing. Self-contained cells are run and managed by multi-skilled, multi-tasking teams.

"We’ve reduced lead times by 80%. Our suppliers maintain the Kanban via dedicated portals in our ERP system, so the guys in the cells have everything on hand to meet demand. Our lean 5S programme organises materials and tooling to maximise production time and eliminate waste. And changing to a pull-based organisation has smoothed our material flow and allowed us to concentrate on customer satisfaction and on-time delivery."

People are also at the heart of this success story. "Training and developing people creates competitive advantage," says Ron. "Our aim is for an environment where people can meet their full potential while fulfilling the goals of the business. Quality people working with quality processes produce quality products for our customers."

Mastergear, Telephone 01635 811500

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 7


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