Case Study: Reduction in Back Injuries and Associated Costs in Automotive Plant

Automotive Plant Case Study – $1.3 Million in Savings per Year with $75,000 Investment

The client:

Our client is a well-established automotive manufacturing plant that employs labourers to move heavy load capacities of up to 1,300 lbs using carts mounted with 4” urethane wheels.

The problem:

The heavy loads that need to be moved from place to place use cheap urethane wheels that didn’t provide acceptable mobility performance on their concrete floor surface and weren’t durable enough to withstand the chaotic environment they were being rolled around in.

The result was significant loss of productivity since the workers became fatigued and there was a significant possibility of injury from overexertion, which also means the company must pay for medical expenses. There was a clear safety issue for which the company could be penalized  by health and safety authorities. Finally, there was increased maintenance expenses since the casters needed to be swapped periodically with a new set when they became damaged.

The solution:

Darcor’s engineering team tackled this problem by first making an on-site audit of the conditions the carts were being used in. The team observed:

  • the carts’ movement on the concrete floor surface,
  • how often they were being pushed, and
  • the male/female ratio of the labourers.

In the next phase, Darcor began its aggressive testing to benchmark and improve on what the company was using in terms of casters. The testing consisted of mobility testing, which looked at three major forces:

  • starting,
  • rolling, and
  • swivelling.

The above results show how considerably higher the competitor caster’s forces are in comparison with the Darcor product, for both the starting and rolling forces. These results clearly show that Darcor’s product should be able to solve the overexertion issues that the labourers have experienced.

The recommendation:

Darcor’s recommendation was the 31-KP406-PSE. This product provides a larger diameter wheel and SE wheel material, to provide more ergonomic mobility. This wheel material also provides a lower compression set and resilience, which means better durability to reduce maintenance time. This product also has precision sealed bearings that are maintenance free.

The Return On Investment (ROI):

The switch to Darcor’s 31-KP406-PSE has resulted in reduced workforce injuries due to lower required exertion forces to move the carts and increase in productivity since workers are not as fatigued, which also leads to reduced medical expenses paid out by the company. Also, there were lower maintenance expenses, since a higher quality caster is not as likely to fail on the field.

Quantitatively, this switch to Darcor casters has provided direct savings of more than $260,000 per year, with indirect savings of up to $1.3 million per year. This automotive company was able to reduce costs significantly with an initial investment of $75,000.

Find out more about choosing the right caster to support your automotive industry ergonomic needs.

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