Scalable Manufacturing System Implemented for Cutting Edge PFAS Chemical Decontamination Unit

Client OPEC Systems

Location Penrith, NSW, Australia

PFAS Chemicals
The SAFF® unit has been configured & can be constructed on-site within the demanding and challenging environments these units need to operate.

What happens when you join an innovative company with an innovative product, an engaged team, and a challenge to reduce lead time by more than 50%? This was the situation TXM faced when OPEC Systems asked for help building a system allowing scalable manufacturing processes to meet demand.


Established in 1992 OPEC Systems (Oil Pollution and Environmental Control Systems) began offering environmental engineering solutions across several industrial applications. Since then, OPEC Systems has expanded to work in the Health, Environmental, Marine, Energy, Defence, and Education Sectors. From bulk fuel and tank management in the energy sector to CBRN equipment for defence customers, OPEC Systems creates high-tech industrial products for applications in extreme environments and situations.

OPEC’s latest product is a system capable of removing toxic levels of PFAS (Per and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances) from contaminated water to below the levels present in drinking water. OPEC is one of a select few manufacturers building and shipping a commercial scale PFAS Wastewater Treatment Plant called a Surface-Active Foam Fraction (SAFF®) system.

TXM provided the expertise, knowledge, and know-how to apply the TXM Manufacturing Agility Process (MAP®) allowing the SAFF® unit to be constructed within the demanding and challenging lead times requested from their customers.

Many of OPEC’s customers are large multinationals and Defence departments around the world needing SAFF® units for waste-water decontamination. The nature of these customers means OPEC needs to adhere to strict processes to meet customer demand.

According to the Chief Operating Officer Geoff Rowland, “OPEC’s current facilities did not have the capacity to meet future production requirements. As such, a new facility was established for local production. In support of the operational goals set by OPEC, there was a desire to incorporate as much digital and Industry 4.0 capability as possible into the Australian facility.”

Geoff summarised: “OPEC recognised that we required the assistance of a specialist Lean manufacturing consultant to challenge and guide the OPEC team during the system and facility design ensuring the facility worked for us”.

The TXM Lean Solution

Shipping Container SAFF Unit
SAFF® units are portable and deliverable to just about any location around the world and ranging from Airports to Warzones.

The TXM Solution was to develop a customised Manufacturing Agility Process (MAP®) facilitating the development of an optimized operational system, including information and material flows from receipt of customer orders, through to unit commissioning and feedback. The outcome of the MAP® process was a future-state value stream map articulating the operational system requirements and resources needed to achieve their demanding sales targets.

Based on the conceptual future-state developed during the Manufacturing Agility Process®, TXM worked with the team using our Facility Layout Development Process™ (FLDP™) to optimise the flow and storage of materials, tools, and equipment through operations. The future-state map helped define the optimal information flow for the facility to fully integrate with an industry 4.0 solution to control and support manufacturing execution.

“I left for an hour one day and when I returned, the team defined a future state where we could produce the forecast sales in less than 50% of the previous lead time” commented Geoff.

Joerg Ziegler, Manufacturing Manager of OPEC’s Enviro division said:“The incorporation of industry 4.0 elements such as electronic Kanban and Andon systems will enable us to operate in a much more efficient manner. On top of that, we will be a paperless facility. All information for production and results will be cloud based and, as an Enviro Manufacturing Manager, I could not be more excited.”

The Facility Layout Development Process™ enabled team members to systematically debate the merits of alternative layouts, material flows, inventory points, information flows, industry 4.0 integration and both personnel and mobile plant movements against an agreed criteria of “must-haves” and “like-to-haves”. Once the “Wheatfield” facility layout was defined by the team and the whole industry 4.0 integration plan was finished, OPEC could assess the impact of the project on its planned results.

The Results

The SAFF® Units can be deployed in the harshest conditions Rain, Hail or Snow.

The OPEC project is being used as an initial steppingstone for building a world class manufacturing line anywhere in the world at an OPEC site. This project defined a clear system and facility capable of delivering the SAFF® units, meeting the requirements and demand from their customers. OPEC Systems also integrated technology and industry 4.0 in its operation, enabling a productivity and quality boost. TXM estimate the new facility will potentially save OPEC Systems six figures and reduced manufacturing lead times.

“I am really proud of the results achieved. This was the result of the engagement and commitment of the OPEC team and TXM. We look forward to having the new facility fully operational and for the continuing partnership with TXM,”, said Geoff.

Timothy McLean

Author: Timothy McLean

Timothy McLean is the Managing Director of TXM Lean Solutions and is an author of Lean books.