Ingersoll-Rand ARO (Bryan, Ohio) cranks out a lot of products.
The nearly 75-year-old industrial equipment manufacturer is a global leader in both fluid handling pumps and fluid power motion control components. It ships about 150,000 line items annually, requiring the machining or assembly of millions of component s. Customers include original equipment manufacturers in transportation, vehicle service, textile, construction, mining, packaging, wastewater treatment, food and beverage, material handling, printing and wood working.

IR ARO manufactures approximately 1,500 different configurations of pumps. One pump may require 100 or more parts from multiple locations within the plant. As if such logistics weren’t challenging enough, now factor in that the plant was constructed in the 1930s and has undergone numerous expansions, including the construction of additional buildings that require material-handling equipment to travel across parking lots and multiple ramps. Plus the workspace around machining centers ris very tight.

Clearly, this is a material handling challenge. Distribution Manager Mark Shepherd joined the IR plant in 2000. One of his first priorties was converting the plant’s fleet to lift trucks from Crown Equipment Corp. “We need our lift trucks to handle high capacity loads with speed, flexibility, dependability, adaptability, and durability in order to maximize uptime.”

“We can’t build the next pump until the last one moves. Items are constantly moving from one location in the plant to another. If one of my lift trucks goes down, I’m getting phone calls because that means we aren’t shipping finished products,” Shepherd says.










IRs lift truck fleet includes:

  • Seven reach trucks (Crown RR 5200 Series) – used throughout the plant.
  • Two rider pallet trucks (PR 3000 Series) for shuttling parts between machining operations.
  • Two walkie stacker trucks (ST 3000/20 MT) for various uses in the assembly area.
  • Four counterbalance sit-down rider trucks (SC 4000 Series)--for unloading and loading trucks and taking materials to machining or assembly.
  • One counterbalance sit-down rider truck (FC 4000 Series)--for recycling and reclamation.
  • One tow tractor (TWR) – takes a chemical recycling tank throughout the plant.
  • Numerous hand pallet trucks (PTH 50 Series) – used throughout the plant.

“The reach trucks provide tremendous versatility and can perform multiple operations in our manufacturing facility,” Shepherd says. “They do everything from picking product from 12-foot racks to moving a 12-inch basket. They’re nimble yet still have lifting capacities that allow handling of heavy loads such as 12-foot bar stock.”

Since converting to Crown lift trucks, the IR ARO plant is now able to complete all material handling with one-third fewer man-hours for a saving in excess of $150,000 per year. In addition, because of the ability of the reach trucks to work within narrow aisles, IR was able to reposition some of their racks to increase efficiency and product flow within the plant.

“When I came here, the aisles were double the width they are now,” Shepherd recalls. “We are now able to better organize the products on our shelves, which allows for more efficient picking and is also safer because it provides for greater sprinkler coverage in case of a fire.”

The Importance of Durablity.

Lift trucks are only able to keep productivity high if they stay on the job. Shepherd likes the lift trucks durability. “We have sit-down riders that have logged over 10,000 hours in less than three years," he says. At his facility, two shifts unload and deliver parts to machining and assembly.

“My biggest maintenance related headache comes from keeping tires on the lift trucks. An inherent problem with machining activities is metal shavings on our floors. They can destroy wheels and tires,” Shepard says.

Shepherd says Crown’s leasing program has helped lead to more uptime. Transitioning IR’s old fleet out quickly was made easier by establishing a lease program. “Leasing the lift trucks gave us the opportunity to operate a new fleet with today’s technology which has meant increased up- time.

"Crown Credit Co. was very easy to work with. While there are always issues with contracts, Crown was willing to work with us to make the lease a good fit for both companies.”

No OSHA recordable incidents.

Safety always is also a major concern in a manufacturing plant. Crown provided a comprehensive train-the-trainer program for Ingersoll-Rand ARO. It trained Shepherd and other managers/supervisors on the safe operation of every truck in his plant. “Since the operators went through the training, they are much more familiar with the equipment,” Shepherd says. “They have a much better idea of what a lift truck can and can’t do, so they don’t put themselves in a position that isn’t safe. Since I’ve been here, there have been no OSHA recordable lift truck incidents.”

Thanks to the ergonomics of Crown lift trucks, operators also appreciate losing the aches and pains they used to feel on other lift trucks. “The average age of our material handling workers is early 50s,” Shepherd adds. “We don’t get complaints from the drivers anymore about sore backs and legs or about getting on and off the lift trucks.”

Source: Crown Equipment Corp.

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