Technology & Design 6th Form Visit Emerson

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Keeping your cool can be tricky sometimes. Ask any large food retailer, especially when potentially thousands of pounds of food stock is at stake.


Fortunately for them, and us, we have local industry on our doorstep producing compressors for refrigeration units keeping our food fresh. Astonishingly, Emerson in Cookstown are producing scroll compressors at a rate of 1 per minute!


Recently 6th Form Technology & Design students visited Emerson to see first hand how these compressors are made. Met and guided by Mr Kenny Robinson, a long serving employee of the company, we were granted access to the manufacturing facility and to the lines producing the steady stream of their world class scroll compressors.


We saw how Emerson has embraced a very lean manufacturing process, striping out all but the essential work required to be carried out. In doing so they have an extremely efficient facility allowing them to stay ahead of the stiff competition from across the globe. In fact Emerson think so highly of the plant in Cookstown that they recently awarded them the accolade of their best facility worldwide. An amazing award which highlights the world class workforce in the local area.


As flexible manufacturing systems like the Robotic arms towered over head we snaked through the production lines seeing how the compressors came together. At every turn we saw processes that we have learned about, but not seen, in class making the visit invaluable. One of the most memorable demonstrations was how welding can be achieved through friction. A brass component was spun at 6000 rpm before being pushed into a receiving casing. On impact the instant heat produced from the friction instantly bonded the parts together. A small part of the process but an amazing one to witness.


We learned too of the many business and financial decisions faced by the company. Where to store inventory, how and when to order materials, staffing issues and equipment costs were all shared with us. Kanban, and Just-In-Time methodologies were rigorously in place and adhered to. Workers throughput was also constantly monitored. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs of the equipment inorder to maintain process intellectual property.


If now by reading this you are asking yourself how exactly refrigeration works then see this great explanation.



Also see this animation helping to explain how a scroll compressor achieves such high efficiency.


Finally Rainey Endowed School wishes to thank Emerson for their hospitality and time allowing us to learn so much. An experience we hope we can repeat.


Mr Palmer.