A manufacturer of heavy-duty transmissions requires a lot of chip conveyors—and, in some cases, wears through them with startling rapidity. For 30 years, this manufacturer had worked with a certain supplier to fulfill its scrap conveyor needs. But when the company began to feel that its needs could be better served elsewhere, Bastian Material Handling (Indianapolis, IN) seized the opportunity.
Given the manufacturer operates approximately 550 machines, nearly every one of which requires a chip conveyor to haul the extra metal left over after cutting a gear (the “chip”), the potential for future business was huge. Those conveyors are vital to the operation of the business: If one of the manufacturer’s machines goes down due to a faulty chip conveyor, it costs the manufacturer $40,000 per hour in lost productivity.
With this in mind, Bastian secured the account by establishing a program wherein if a chip conveyor goes down or needs to be replaced, Bastian sends a replacement conveyor within two hours. “They can call us anytime, 24 hours a day,” says Bastian Material Handling Senior Project Engineer Blain Cook. “I’ve been called at 4:00 in the morning, at 6:30 in the evening on a Saturday, and late on a Friday night.”
Before Bastian even began supplying conveyors to the transmission manufacturer, Cook and a representative of Jorgensen Conveyors spent a three-month period surveying every machine in the plant to create a record of what type of conveyor went with each machine. Every machine was assigned a tag number, so when a conveyor goes down, the manufacturer need only provide Cook with the appropriate tag number, and Cook consults his spreadsheet to determine which replacement conveyor is needed.
Bastian stores about 50 purpose-built conveyors for the transmission manufacturer in its Indianapolis warehouse, each of which is suited to a specific machine in the customer’s plant. Cook regularly works with a Jorgensen Conveyors OEM Product Design Specialist to re-examine the design of the conveyors to provide the customer with equipment best suited to the manufacturer’s unique needs. Recently, Walsh completely redesigned one conveyor to improve its durability.
“The manufacturer produces a really, really hard chip, and it would just wreak havoc on this conveyor, so they were only getting four or five months of life out of it,” explains Cook. “We changed 14 different things on the conveyor—everything from the belt design to the casing design—so that the design is unique to this transmission manufacturer. We installed it earlier this year, and it’s already lasted longer than the conveyor it replaced. We’re hoping to get a lot more life out of it.”
The conveyor redesign is part of an overall effort to provide the customer with a better grade of conveyor throughout the plant, including better quality internal components and even a higher grade of steel. Add in Bastian’s rapid response time and careful attention to detail, and you have a very well-satisfied transmission manufacturer—not to mention a sales success story to the tune of 174 conveyors purchased so far.
This case demonstrates Jorgensen’s commitment to building close relationships and meeting each customer’s specific needs. Our goal is to look at each machine and process to customize a product solution that will provide the machine tool ROI that the customer expects. Mis-applied conveyors and filtration systems on machine tools result in premature conveyor wear, costly machine downtime, poor part finishes, and excessive coolant costs. No other company has a broader range of machine tool conveyor and filter product solutions to help eliminate these problems.
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