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My Tour Of An Automated Fill Plant

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
The final, automated fill plant

The final, automated fill plant

Last week, I made my return to Haun Welding Supply. Back in October 2010, I wrote about my first tour of the Syracuse distributor. At that time, Haun WS had just laid the groundwork for a fully automated fill plant. Josh Haun, credit manager at Haun, was kind enough to invite me back to see the new plant in action. Syracuse Branch Manager Al Dohrn walked us through and kindly answered the hundreds of questions we threw his way.

There are obvious benefits to automation, such as increased efficiency and reducing human error. However, there are some other benefits I picked up on during my short time at Haun. The first thing I immediately noticed was that the new, automated system was a quieter environment than the last time I was there. It was explained to me that the layout, the ability to bring pallets right up to the fill island and the movable manifolds meant less moving of cylinders and thus less commotion.

The fill plant in construction. A raised concrete fill island is the same height as the cylinder pallets for easy transport.

The fill plant in construction. A raised concrete fill island is the same height as the cylinder pallets for easy transport.

Also reducing the noise level was the fact that Haun recently implemented a second shift. As far as noise, this just meant that the activity was more spread out, and there were fewer people in the plant at once. The idea behind the second shift was to improve work flow and effectively reduce the number of cylinders needed. For example, if a batch of cylinders goes out on a truck to a branch on a Monday morning, that truck will not come back with empties until the evening. On a single shift, those cylinders could not get filled until the next day, and go back out to a store on Wednesday. By adding a second shift, those cylinders can be taken care of during the evening and be back on a truck Tuesday morning. These guys are smart.

In all, I could see that everything was done with purpose. Nothing was updated on a whim, or for the sheer sake of having shiny, new tools. Every piece of equipment, every design element, every adjustment was made knowing that it would help Haun operate more efficiently. Here’s to the success of their new plant!

Josh Haun (left) and me at the fill plant

Josh Haun (left) and me at the fill plant