New Work Platform, Conveyors Help Basket Trucks Increase Production
As Thomas Carney reviewed his building’s expansion options, it became clear that only one truly made sense.
Carney, president of Royal Basket Trucks, Darien, Wis., was looking to increase the company’s production rates to better meet growing customer demand. To accomplish that goal, the initial thought was to expand the existing facility with a new wing—a costly option that would take a minimum of six months to complete. But, after speaking with Wildeck, Inc., Waukesha, Wis., a new alternative emerged that proved to be a winning combination—optimizing the existing facility with a new work platform and Delta Lift vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC).
Royal Basket Trucks is a manufacturer of basket trucks and specialty laundry carts. Every product is made to order, a philosophy that allows the company to customize wire frame carts by making size modifications specific to a customer’s environment. Having full welding and industrial sewing departments located in its Darien facility enables Royal Basket Trucks to produce orders on a short timeline.
At the heart of their dilemma, Royal Basket Trucks needed to improve operational efficiencies within their existing facility space.
“Royal Basket had a flow situation where they were trying to get materials from one part of the building to another where production was located, and it wasn’t working very well,” says Brad Lehman, outside regional sales manager for Wildeck. “The combination of the work platform and VRC was the perfect solution to the flow issue that Royal Basket was facing.”
Wildeck recommended locating materials and production closer together to improve product flow. A large, unused space in the facility proved to be the perfect location to accomplish this using a work platform and VRC.
“We converted 6,000 square feet of totally unused space into a productive work area,” Carney says. “Once we considered the alternative, a 12,000-square-foot building addition for about $500,000 and at least six months to complete, the decision was easy—go for the work platform.”
The task was to build a 40x120-foot work platform that would be used for production, and re-locate materials and other supplies underneath it. Moving materials back and forth between the ground and upper level would be handled by the VRC.
“We took their product transfer flow from a distance of about 75 feet and reduced it to virtually nothing,” Lehman says. “The VRC was ideal because it now takes raw materials up to the workers, and brings finished products back down.”
The work platform now houses four sewing machines, shelving and other production equipment—all of which are serviced by about 20 employees at any given time. Workers access the work platform using Wildeck structural steel staircases, while the VRC carries only materials.
Lehman says the solution developed for Royal Basket Trucks is one that can be applied to thousands of manufacturing and industrial applications that are looking to expand their capabilities without expanding their facilities. Another benefit of the work platform was added employee safety.
“The work platform created a much safer work environment for employees because now they’re up off the floor,” Lehman says. “They’ve got forklifts and carts moving about, so the danger of someone being struck is greatly minimized.”
The entire process, from Wildeck’s initial visit with Royal Basket Trucks to installation, only took a few weeks. Wildeck’s prompt customer service was one of the primary drivers in getting this work platform and VRC specified and installed in such a short amount of time.
“The way this project came to fruition and how we worked with Royal Basket reinforces every reason why I work for Wildeck,” Lehman says. “From taking measurements, making the drawings, working with Royal Basket and how smoothly everything went, this project is a great illustration of why we’re the best in the industry. We don’t ask the customer to compromise so we can sell them a product. We address their challenge with the best solution to accomplish their goals, and we have the skills, engineering and manufacturing to do that. A lot of our competitors don’t.”
Wildeck’s high level of customer service made a difference in getting the project completed on time and on budget.
“From concept to completion, we had a wonderful experience with the Wildeck team,” Carney says. “The Wildeck work platform and VRC were the right solution for us at the right time and at a fair price. We saved time and money, all while getting to work with another fine Wisconsin company.”