The close collaboration of CSIRO’s mathematicians with engineers from the James Hardie company allowed the company to learn from CSIRO’s approach.
Increasing production rates
Mathematical modelling was one of several approaches which helped James Hardie to increase production rates for their reinforced cement building products.
21 February 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011
For many manufacturers, maximising production rates from limited production lines is a major way to increase the profitability of their business.
James Hardie, world leading company in sales of cellulose reinforced cement building products, greatly increased their production rates for these products with the help of CSIRO.
To increase productivity, Hardie took a multi-pronged approach to improving their production processes. In one initiative, engineers from Hardie's worked with CSIRO mathematicians to model the production process.
CSIRO’s mathematical modellers created a mathematical model of the complex, multi-step process. This model shed light on the dynamics of the process, identifying critical stages and important parameters. It provided an understanding of how changes to the process would affect the end product.
From this understanding, Hardie’s engineers could make informed decisions about changes that improved the efficiency of the process, while ensuring that quality was maintained and that wear and tear on equipment was minimised.
This led to improvements in the process, equipment design and process control which in turn led to productivity gains. The overall approach has led to a five fold increase in production rates for little additional capital cost.
'I don’t like putting a dollar figure on the value of an individual contribution, because in business . . . everything is a group effort. What I can say is that CSIRO’s work has paid itself over hundreds of times, both directly and indirectly, and that means millions of dollars’ said Mr Noel Thompson, Chief Technology Officer, at James Hardie.
CSIRO’s work has paid itself over hundreds of times, both directly and indirectly.
Importantly, the close collaboration between CSIRO’s mathematicians and engineers from James Hardie, allowed the company to learn from CSIRO’s approach and experience in modelling processes. As a result, a new approach for modelling to improve processes and control has now been adopted as standard in James Hardie.
'Modelling is now a day to day activity in our development groups, and that is really important in our chances of success in the future,’ said Mr Thompson.
Read more about CSIRO’s work in Risk Management & Decision SupportRisk Management & Decision SupportRisk Management & Decision Support.