Clean-Roll Doors Provide Unexpected Savings
When Steris Isomedix Services decided to replace the bump doors on the preconditioning rooms where it stored products before sterilization, the new high-speed roll-up doors it chose provided several benefits that were not fully anticipated.
Steris Isomedix is the contract sterilization group of Steris, a $900 million company that produces infection control devices. It processes products such as food packaging and disposable medical and laboratory devices that are delivered in boxes and transported to the preconditioning rooms on lift trucks. The temperature in the rooms is held at 105 degrees and the humidity at 65 percent, creating moisture that activates potential organisms that otherwise could remain dormant. During the first stage of sterilization, ethylene oxide impacts the organisms and prevents them from growing.
The company had been using bump doors on the entrances to the preconditioning rooms so that lift truck operators could deliver pallets of boxes without dismounting to open and close the doors. Their quick entry and exit helped maintain the required climate.
The decision to find a different kind of door was prompted by the formation of rust on the steel hinges because of the humidity. The rust created the perception among visitors that the operation was not as clean as it could be.
Other problems created maintenance issues. Over time, the impact of the lift trucks bent the doors. They would not shut properly, leaving a gap of several inches. Furthermore, when the doors struck the bollards installed to keep the doors from slamming into the walls, the upper portion would whip forward, adding to the warping of the doors. The misaligned doors would sometimes jam in the open position.
Straightening the carbon-steel doors was a difficult and labor-intensive task. The time-consuming process of repairing the doors required the entrance to be covered with a tarp to maintain the desired climate.
When the time came to replace the current doors, Steris decided to consider the options. Richard Bartold, a project engineering manager for Steris Isomedix, found the solution in Rytec’s Clean-Roll door, a new concept in high-speed doors that combined the benefits of speed and a tight seal with the requirements of a hygienic/clean room door, satisfying Steris requirements for maintaining cleanliness and a contamination-free environment. Of particular importance for Steris, the Clean-Roll’s stainless steel roll drum and stainless steel side frames eliminated the potential for rust.
Steris purchased Clean-Roll doors for three of its facilities. The expenditures for the new doors were greater than they would have been for new bump doors, but Steris determined that the doors would pay for themselves in a short period of time.
A feature that significantly reduced maintenance costs was the break-away bottom bar. Each Clean-Roll door is activated by a photoelectric eye when a lift truck approaches, but an operator traveling quickly can strike the door before it rolls all the way up. When hit, the door breaks free from the frame and the motor stops. The door escapes damage, and is easily reset in a matter of minutes.
Clean-Roll doors by Rytec Corporation.
ERP Solves Production Woes
Handling Specialty, a custom-design manufacturer of industrial lifting equipment, needed to significantly increase production capacity from its Niagara Falls, New York, and Grimsby, Ontario, plants to remain competitive. Improving manufacturing efficiency was directly tied to alleviating constant shop delays caused by unavailable production material.
Despite having an experienced employee team, a solid product line, proper facilities and steadily increasing sales, the company’s profit margins continually declined. The company’s growing production demand brought added complexity to its office and production processes that undermined efficiency. Increasing design and production time required to process orders posed a serious challenge to growth and profits.
A manufacturing study revealed that a new plant layout or added equipment would not solve the problem. An obstacle restricting production was a disconnected information system. Over the years, each department — sales, engineering, purchasing, production and accounting — had developed its own paper-based forms and procedures for processing orders. Information flow between each department was not integrated, resulting in significant order delays.
There were other symptoms. Workers were wasting time searching for information and double-entering information. Process tracking required individual logbooks in every department. Engineering was bogged down in paperwork, and purchasing was overwhelmed by the impact of frequent design changes. Production was frequently stopped because of material shortages due to design changes throughout the project. Accounting could not provide accurate or timely job costing, and tracking work in process to produce precise, monthly financial statements was an ongoing struggle.
Handling Specialty chose Questica 2000 ERP software to address these problems. Questica 2000 software integrated the flow of information throughout the company. All double entry of information was eliminated; logbooks disappeared, and orders moved more quickly through the company. Engineering reduced its timeline by 30 percent, providing purchasing with added time and information to shop wiser. Vendors delivered material to coincide with the demands of production. Not only was material delivered to production faster, but inventories were also reduced by 50 percent. Accounting provided real-time job costing and tracking, as well as increased financial reporting accuracy for improved management control.
The improvement in the order-to-ship time brought about by the ERP saw the company’s productive output double from the same facilities over the next four years. This was accomplished with no increase in design or shop hours. Profits increased; quality improved, and customer satisfaction increased. With the new information system, the production staff changed the plant layout and built a new inventory area just half its former size.
ERP software by Questica Inc.