Saturday, March 5, 2011

Column #56 - Yes, Martha, there IS a difference..

So we left last week by mentioning that Delta means stationary machines and Porter-Cable means portable power tools…the largest part of a P-C tool was maybe the body of a Porta-BandSaw. Weight maybe 6 to 8 lbs or so. On the Delta side, there were many 60 to 80lb motors, castings that could be 200lbs, stuff like that. So, we mentioned this huge box that ALL of these parts are going into…at the same time, to be shipped out to the Service Branches. [I need to inject a detail about the way the warehouse was made. Remember it was state-of-the-art. There were several ‘picking stations’ scattered around the warehouse. The pickers would pull the product from the rack/bin, place it on the ramp, where it would then go up to a track that was around the top of the warehouse (app. 25 feet up in the air). From there, it would ride the conveyor belt around to the front of the warehouse, where it would run into several down ramps that let the scanners direct it to the right packout station down on the warehouse floor. I think there were 8 packout stations along the front.] So, here come the parts along the belt, the system would direct & deflect the item to the proper down ramp and the part would slide down the ramp to be met by a packer who would then put it into the export box.

Now, get the picture of a 6lb part sliding down one of these slides. The slide is polished metal and it ends at floor level to be stopped by a rubber-covered packout table. All well and good for that 6lb part…but what do you suppose happens when the part is an 80lb electric motor? I’ll tell you what happened…the motor went sliding down the ramp-uh, gaining speed all the way-and when it hit the rubber, the bottom of the motor’s box stopped…but the top kept right on going. In case it’s not clear, this is better known and a ‘tumbling box, with an 80lb motor inside it’. Yep, the boxed-up motor proceeded to start flipping and rolling with all of its might and then flew out across the warehouse floor. Scratch one 300-400$ motor…oh, and anything else that might have been in its way…including worker’s ankles.

If this had been an isolated incident, it might have just been ‘one of those things’, but it got so commonplace that it was our lunchtime entertainment.

Pretty sad, huh? Well, it just gets more ‘interesting’.…

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