Case Study: Eliminating Hazards While Increasing Safety And Efficiency
One of Canada’s leading bus and coach manufacturers was dealing with ongoing issues that centred around their extensive use of pneumatic tools.
The manufacturer engaged their long-time partner Applifast for potential solutions that would address their safety concerns, efficiency losses, and maintenance issues.
Safety was a primary concern for the manufacturer. The quantity of air hoses necessary for the operation of numerous tools created multiple hazards and risks along the line. In fact, thousands of hose-related injuries are reported throughout North America every year, but they were intent on preventing incidents in their premises.
As noted by an Applifast advisor during an initial plant evaluation: “There were tripping hazards and of course lots of operators trying to work in the same area. Air hoses were getting tangled and interfering production. There was also damage caused to finished materials and vehicle components creating rework.”
Efficiency was also being compromised, which was a major concern for the manufacturer. Production could often be slowed as a result of having multiple workers sharing a restricted workspace inside a vehicle.
The cumbersome nature of multiple air hoses would cause confusion and slow down work in these scenarios, or, as the advisor put it: “You can imagine if you have a bunch of people working inside of a bus they all have to work around each other. We’re talking anywhere from 12 to 20 people at once.”
In addition to being a safety hazard, air hoses are also susceptible to damage which leads to costly maintenance repairs and downtime.
“The challenge was to find cordless power tools that had the industrial capability of pneumatic tools, so we did the research. We found the best tools in terms of capacity, features, and durability to ensure we had the highest quality and best suited tools for that application,” according to the Applifast advisor.
A complete plant evaluation was carried out by Applifast advisors to determine how to best serve the bus manufacturer’s needs. After assessing every station and every issue with their operators, a custom solution was presented.
Applifast introduced the use of standardized, cordless tools. Since the manufacturer’s production line included a broad range of different application requirements, the advisors took great care in making sure the right tools were selected for each individual area: “We did research to find manufacturers who had the best tool in terms of capacity to ensure we had the optimum tool for each application.”
Applifast’s team of advisors carefully assessed each tool. Thorough testing was completed to ensure the correct tool was chosen for each application.
“They relied on our expertise to choose the tools and do operator testing for ergonomics, weight, power, and longevity,” mentioned one of the advisors who was involved. “The lighter weight, flexibility, and tether-free movement with the new cordless tools saved a lot of labour — it really improved their working conditions.”
The introduction of cordless tools was successful in addressing all of the manufacturer’s safety, efficiency, and maintenance issues.
Over 250 Applifast cordless tools are currently in use all along the manufacturer’s production line. This has led to the elimination of safety hazards that came with heavy and burdensome air hoses. It also means that workers can now complete their tasks more efficiently and that the costs associated with maintenance and downtime have been significantly reduced.
“At Applifast,” mentions one of the advisors who worked on this project, “we believe price and value are two different things. It’s incredibly rewarding to see your partners make a significant change in the manufacturing process and win.”
For this bus and coach manufacturer, the value that comes from partnering with Applifast allows them to continue to be a leader in the industry.