Cameron operates three business segments, Drilling & Production Systems, Valves & Measurement and Process & Compression Systems. These three segments together make
Cameron the leading provider of flow equipment products, systems
and services to oil, gas and process industries.
One of the Cameron facilities in Oklahoma City, OK represents
the Valves & Measurement group. Serving companies worldwide,
Cameron - OKC manufactures approximately 800,000 valves per year.
These valves are designed to control and direct the flow of oil and gas
through many different channels. Cameron has high standards for its
manufactured products; therefore, the equipment used in these industry environments has demanding standards as well.
Due to the large volume of valves being manufactured on the production floor, the amount of tools, gauges and components used in
the process can be overwhelming. “Tools were being stored in cabinets
and drawers, but it wasn’t very organized. It slows production down
when you can’t find the right tool,” says Bobby Maxwell, Sr. Tool &
Die Maker. With demand always on the rise, improving inventory
control would result in increased productivity, making it a top priority
Automation Consolidates Multiple Storage Locations
Hundreds of cabinets and drawers were spread throughout the
facility, storing both CNC tooling and gauges. Operators would utilize
tooling or gauges without records resulting in lost equipment and
excess inventory. The
storage areas were not
safe or secure, and the
inventory was extremely unorganized.
Two Shuttle XP Vertical Lift
Modules (VLM), one 12’ tall
and one 19’ tall, integrated with
inventory management software
were installed to consolidate these
storage locations. All inventories
from the cabinets were moved
into these two machines to create
a more central and efficient work
station. One Shuttle VLM is used
for CNC tooling and the other
manages gauge inventory.
Productivity is Flowing
Before automation, operators would walk and search through drawer cabinets throughout the facility for the required tools and gauges
necessary for manufacturing. Without a database to track inventory,
missing items were common, requiring additional time to search for
the lost inventory or the purchase of new inventory. With the new
Shuttle VLMs, the operators now walk to one central location and
with the push of a button the extractor brings the appropriate tray
with the necessary tools directly to the operator at an ergonomic
On average, an operator would spend 34 minutes picking tooling
and gauges per day. In the VLM system, it only takes 5 minutes. With
limited travel and no searching involved, Cameron has been able to
reduce the time spent pulling tools and gauges and increase productivity by approximately 86 percent in both zones. In addition, a worker
spent an average of 48 minutes per week searching for the lost items.
The new VLMs have allowed Cameron to maintain better inventory
control which has saved 42 hours per year of wasted search time.
Improving Inventory Tracking and Access
Previously, access to tools and gauges was available to anyone,
allowing for inventory to be lost or damaged. After installing the
Shuttle VLMs, the inventory management software tracks where tools
and gauges are located within the unit. “The VLM in the gauge lab is
in a controlled office and users need a password to access the VLM,”
says Arthur Wathan, Quality Inspector. Once an operator has
access, they can store and retrieve inventory and the software will record each transaction. This added security allows
for inventory to be accessible only to appropriate personnel.
Organization Keeps Inventory and Staff Safe
Previously, tooling was not stored in a controlled environ-
ment. “Safety was at risk,” says Maxwell. “Tooling was lying
around. This posed a safety hazard to our operators and a
risk of damage to the inventory.” The Shuttle VLMs provided
a solution that would not only protect warehouse personnel
but also the inventory being stored. A safety light curtain is
located in the access opening of the VLM. If the light barrier
is broken while the machine is in motion, if it will stop the
machine to protect employees from injury. Products are safely stored
in the machine in a clean and organized environment. Keeping prod-
ucts in a controlled environment helps maintain the integrity of the
With the improvements made in the CNC tooling zone and the
gauge lab, Cameron decided to implement automation in the component parts zone. Previously stored on small racks, small component
parts, such as o-rings and gaskets, were taking up too much space.
“There was no inventory control, so the inventory in this area was
always off,” says Jose Alca, Manufacturing Engineer II.
Cameron Organizes Inventory
to Keep Product Flowing