Custom Solution For Bus Manufacturing Facility
New Flyer Industries is a large North American heavy duty bus manufacturer, headquartered in Canada but with American factories in St. Cloud and Crookston, Minnesota. At the St. Cloud factory, New Flyer was facing a space crunch that was not only making storage difficult but also presenting a safety hazard for workers. To combat these issues, the company contacted Kari Heid from American Warehouse Systems in Minneapolis MN.
“They invited me out to look at customizing a mezzanine for their work area,” Heid says. “They were working off of scaffolding next to the buses which presented a safety risk and they wanted it fixed. They were also adding a new product line so they anticipated bringing a lot more product onto the floor. Creating more storage space was an urgent necessity.”
Heid and the engineering team at New Flyer began discussing potential solutions that would solve this storage crunch while at the same time keeping workers safe. There were some logistical challenges that simply building a mezzanine presented, however.
Gangway Ramps From The Mezzanine To The Bus
“They needed access from the mezzanines to the bottom side of the bus to work on the axles,” says Heid. “They had people working under the bus, inside the bus and on top of the bus at the same time. So while we discussed adding the platform, we ended up adding gangway ramps that drop down off the mezzanine and into the bus to provide safe access for workers.”
However, not every model of buses that New Flyer manufacturers are the same length. This meant that some of the gangway ramps had to move to accommodate the different positions. Heid and the AWS project team suggested adding hand rails to the gangway so that there would be no gaps when the gangway was moved. The team also added safety gates on top of the mezzanine to prevent falls.
“There were safety codes that we abided by to the letter,” Heid says. “The handrails that had to move with the gangway had to have a toe kick so that if anything dropped on the surface of the mezzanine work platform, it couldn’t roll off and hit somebody underneath. There are two different sections to the mezzanine. The second section actually butted up against the bus with no gang ways. It was very tight to the bus so we had to make sure that it didn’t have more than a 4 inch gap right there.”
What An Efficiency Boost!
In addition to the additional safety concerns that were addressed by AWS, New Flyer has enjoyed a tremendous efficiency boost from the project as well.
“They moved some of their assembly from the floor to the mezzanine, which has opened up more floor space,” says Heid. “And the mezzanine has also allowed storage of materials on top so that workers no longer have to carry products up and down the scaffolding. They can access them right from the surface of the mezzanine.”
Installation on the project took place in February of this year and New Flyer was so impressed with the quality of the work as well as the Steel Solutions mezzanine and Hemco Industries gangways that they have asked Kari to quote a price on a similar project at their facility in Crookston.
Your Work Challenges Become Solutions
Project teams at AWS specialize in taking complex work challenges and creating smart and efficient solutions for all work areas. We also take care of any simple needs too such as a new row of pallet rack. Saving you money and your employee’s safety is always our top concern. Please feel free to contact us – we’re here for you.