Greenheck (Schofield, Wis.), a manufacturer of ventilation equipment, is on a growth streak. It has doubled its sales in the past five years to almost $500 million.
However, continuous growth was straining the company’s main production facility, which supplies parts nationally. “We not only had to ramp up production but also get leaner since we had limited production floor space,” says Larry Toboyek, manager of tooling and maintenance at the main production facility.
To streamline production and meet quality, cost and delivery goals, Greenheck purchased larger, progressive die stamping presses and built larger dies in its in-house die center.
The problem, however, was how to store the massive dies. Some dies measure up to eight feet square and weigh nearly 10,000 pounds. Storage was impossible on standard storage racks, which typically support loads of only 5,000 to 6,000 lbs.
“We had to stack heavier, higher, and more flexibly in die racks to meet our space and production requirements,” says Doug Baumann, manufacturing engineer.
The company found an answer in Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. (Milwaukee), a material handling and automated systems distributor, and Steel King (Stevens Point, Wis.), an industrial storage rack manufacturer.
“Greenheck selected the die racks for their capacity, structural integrity and ability to work with the fork trucks we provided,” says Bill Netzel, the capital equipment representative at Wisconsin Lift Truck who helped with the project.
The heavy-duty Steel King die racks allowed Greenheck to store its largest dies, where needed, on the production floor. “Because the racks are made of structural steel, with uprights of structural tubing and shelves of channel, they’re very robust,” says Baumann. “They allow us to store safely an extra 5,000 pounds per rack beyond typical racks.” Completely welded bed frames with beams and supports from front to rear, welded into one assembly, add to the structural integrity, while
| Heavy-duty racks add flexibility to Greenheck’s manufacturing operations. |
heavy-duty ¾-inch anchors and shims secure and level the racks.
Steel King provided standard-sized die racks for use with standardized sub-plates, allowing efficient die stacking and use of production floor space. For optimal storage flexibility, the shelves are removable from the uprights, and the shelf heights are adjustable in 3-inch increments across the entire vertical height.
“Standardizing rack size at the required capacity not only enabled us to add more shelving, we also stack dies as high as our building height allows,” explains Toboyek. “That gave us the means to store our dies cost effectively, despite limited production floor space.”
In addition, the die rack’s shelf design can accommodate a variety of die sizes and allows dies to be slid on or off a shelf for easy access and storage.
“We’ve added about 10% to 15% to our bottom line with the larger dies, without adding any square footage to our stamping facility,” says Toboyek. The efficient, high-capacity die racks help make this possible and should generate ROI within three years.”