Going Beyond Recycling to Improve Operations
Plant Analysis Leads to Easier & Safer Material Handling for Aluminum Service Center
The customer is a leading distributor (service center) of aluminum and steel sheet, strip, and coils with warehouses across North America. They were in the initial sales process with Shapiro Metals when their Shapiro rep came to their facility to conduct a plant survey.
The customer was utilizing a processing table roller system to shear off the edges of the coils. While touring the facility, the rep noticed that after coils were cut, the scrap was coming down and being dropped onto a conveyor. Then, a plant employee would have to pick up the scrap by hand and then bend over to place it onto a pallet.
This process was putting physical strain on the plant employees having to bend over to put the scrap material onto the pallets. There was also the risk of cutting themselves having to handle the scrap by hand.
In the subsequent discussion with the manufacturer, they acknowledged that material handling was a challenge, but they weren’t sure of any other way to adjust the process. Having started his career in operations at Shapiro, their rep called upon his unique experience to begin imagining ways to eliminate this safety hazard.
When putting together our recommendation for the service center, the rep did some research on equipment that could potentially help with their material handling process—on top of how Shapiro could solve their recycling challenges.
He found a piece of equipment (an air-powered hydraulic lift table) that could be installed at the end of the conveyor. Along with a customized bin that fit underneath the hopper, the rep came up with a configuration that would automate the handling of the distributor’s scrap material. Their employees would no longer have to bend over to manually pick up scrap by hand. They could simply slide the scrap across the table after coming off the conveyor into the customized bin, where it could then be picked up by forklift.
Then, to make the implementation even easier, the rep found a contractor who could install the table for the distributor. The distributor’s safety engineer signed off on the idea.
The distributor was surprised that not only had Shapiro solved the challenges they were facing with their recycling program, the rep also brought a fresh perspective that helped increase efficiency and safety…and on top of that, took care of sourcing the equipment and finding someone to install it.
Our plant analysis process proved invaluable for this distributor. Had we not taken the time to walk their facility and empathize with their employees, this safety hazard may not have been corrected. That’s why we ensure we gain a first-hand understanding of every potential partner before making our recommendation. Our goal is to ensure that our proposed solution fits them perfectly, and if it’s possible, improves their overall operation along the way.
And once the solution is implemented, we don’t stop there. For this customer, the rep continues to visit their facility every month to check on the relationship and make sure they’re satisfied. And that’s what you can expect from us at Shapiro. We play the long game when it comes to partnerships.