Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

First Advisor

Bob White

Second Advisor

Steven Butt

Third Advisor

Azim Houshyar


Pridgeon and Clay is one of the largest, privately owned manufacturers and suppliers of stamped steel automotive and Fein blanked components in the United States. Pridgeon and Clay specializes primarily in automotive exhaust components, but services other industries like heavy truck, agriculture and battery. Some of the services Pridgeon and Clay offer include progressive die stamping, transfer press stamping, Fein blanking, In-die sensor welding, prototyping, robotic MIG welding, packing and more. The senior design project will focus on the pack line operations located at Pridgeon and Clay’s distribution center (USDC) which is located about a mile down the road from Grand Rapids manufacturing facility.

For the project, the team focused on improving the pack process for a heat shield (PC73512). Due to the size of the part and tasks to perform the pack, the operation cannot be done on the existing lines. Thus, there is room for improvement when packing these heat shields. The project consisted of analyzing the baseline scenario, developing new concept ideas to remove all non-value-added operations, introducing a new Kanban system, simulating packing the parts both at the USDC and at the end of the press to reach a pack rate of 1,000 parts per hour and researching improved drying systems.

This project is significant for the following reasons; it is a high-volume job and has a unique pack type. Currently, the job runs at about 481,385 parts per year and is projected to increase to 628,858 parts by next year. Therefore, the job is an ongoing obstacle for operators to pack and is considered an offline pack. In addition, this job is considered a special pack because each heat shield requires a piece of Kraft paper. Currently, the parts come off the conveyor wet, and placing the Kraft paper in between the wet parts would ruin the Kraft paper.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted