Assembly in Action: Curtains Promote Better Space Usage
March 20, 2008
LDI Industries Inc. (Manitowoc, WI) manufactures lubricating equipment and hydraulic components for OEMs and the MRO market. The company, which specializes in fabricating hydraulic reservoirs, recently moved to a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Huntley, IL, to accommodate increasing demand for its products.
As part of the move, managers decided they wanted to improve the way they used their production space, with an eye toward increasing overall efficiency. Specifically, the company was concerned that if it didn’t correctly coordinate its operations, the result would be a management nightmare and a waste of the new facility’s additional space.
“In our old facility, we sectioned off welding, cutting and grinding operations using weld screens, but we felt there was a better way to do this,” says LDI maintenance manager Bill Klus.
Ultimately, LDI elected to section off the production area into 400-square-foot cells using custom-configured weld curtains from Goff’s Enterprises (Pewaukee, WI). According to Klus, the cell setup gives LDI managers much better control over workflow, because every step of the process and every worker now has a designated area on the shop floor.
The curtains are suspended from easy-to-position, heavy-duty tracks, and are 22-feet high, enabling trapped welding gases to be removed through a system of blowers. Any sparks from grinding operations are kept in the cell area, and the curtains drape slightly on the floor with chain-weighted bottoms to prevent them from flapping open and leaving gaps.
The curtains protect employees from flash and UV light as they move down the aisles between workcells. At the same time, employees can see in and out of the cells, while ambient light passing into each cell improves working conditions.
The clear curtain sections are combined with opaque top and bottom sections made of 14-ounce vinyl. All the panels are fire retardant. If a curtain is hit with weld splatter or suffers any other kind of damage, LDI can simply replace that curtain section. At floor level, the curtains attach to one another with 2-inch industrial Velcro fasters. To enter the area, an operator simply spreads the curtains.
“From our standpoint, it’s the ease with which our employees and the work can pass in and out of the workcells that is important to a productive environment,” Klus says.
For more information on flexible partitioning, visit www.goffscurtainwalls.com.