Capacity Planning


SIMUL8 showed Mueller that lack of capacity was costing them $7 million. They proved their plant's current configuration didn't have the capacity to process the amount of scrap originally planned for. Simulation gave them the evidence and insight to correct the problem.


The Challenge

With a total of 15 manufacturing sites and 24 plants around the world, Mueller is the largest international manufacturer of copper tubing. The company currently employs over 3000 people and generates annual revenues of $1.3 billion. Mueller use simulation for their capacity planning.

The Plan

Mueller Casting Company, casts the copper billets that eventually end up as Mueller's copper tubing. Building the casting operation was supposed to provide Mueller with a means to refine impurities out of lower cost scrap metal which could then be used to manufacture the company's copper tubes.

In order to make the plant profitable, the plan was to consume 70% of its input from scrap.


The Reality

Post audits revealed the plant was buying too much copper, to accomplish the company's goal. NovaSim, a SIMUL8 Certified Solution Providers helped Mueller investigate.

Mueller Industries decided to use SIMUL8 to test Mueller Casting Company's operations and verify the accuracy of the data leading to decisions to purchase higher quantities of cathode than had been originally forecast.

The Result

SIMUL8 allowed Mueller to take a look at the casting company's operations from a capacity planning and process improvement standpoint to verify and justify the current capital expenditures, as well as test theories to improve their scrap consumption.

The simulation was completed in about 2 weeks, including all rework to incorporate data and processes that were missed on the first round.

"By building the simulation we were able to confirm that the plant in its current configuration does not have the capacity required to process the amount of scrap we had originally planned for. Current conditions are costing us in the neighborhood of $7 million.

Having concrete evidence of the reasons why will allow us to correct the situation and plan alternative uses for the casting plant."

Ron Shaw, Mueller

Mueller's Next SIMUL8 Project

Mueller is expanding the role that simulation plays in its organization. Mueller plans to use SIMUL8 as a tool for optimizing its business processes and as a service it can offer to its plants around the country to help them with their planning.

"We have three people in our headquarters who are well trained on the software and whose services will be co-opted to help our divisions make better operating decisions." Ron Shaw

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