The products constructed by Young Windows are always on the move. After all, the company is a leading manufacturer of custom aluminum windows for specialized on-highway, off-highway, transit and marine vehicles—everything from public buses to heavy-duty excavating equipment.
Ironically, for a long time, the company’s assembly department was being held back by immobility. This department is where aluminum frames and locks, glass subcomponents and glass plates themselves are brought together to produce the final window product.
Until recently, the technicians responsible for assembling the windows were stationed at (literally) homemade benches that had been cobbled together out of large chunks of wood. They were, according to Joseph Lepo, vice president of Young Windows, “the kind of benches you’d work on in your basement at home.”
Lepo continues, “Our old benches were far from user-friendly. And they were extremely immobile. If we wanted to shift a workbench to another part of the department, we needed three men and a forklift to get the job done.”
The decision to replace the department’s antiquated wooden workbenches was a simple one.
“There were a number of key variables that guided our workbench decision-making process,” Lepo explains. “These included flexibility, mobility, ergonomic ease of use, improved lighting, aesthetics and rugged durability. We met with a regional distributor that specialized in this type of workstation, Daneker Electronics, and they showed us a fully assembled workbench that could meet all our needs.”
He adds, “We ended up purchasing 15 of these heavy-duty benches, each of which [was] custom configured for our unique needs.”
The manufacturer took its traditional ergonomic workbench and outfitted it for Young Windows with wheel casters for complete mobility. The length of the workbenches was increased from 6 feet to 8 feet, to go along with 36-inch deep work surfaces that accommodate the large window assemblies, some of which are as large as 3 feet high by 6 feet long.
Ergonomic concerns were also at the forefront of Young Window’s choice of the height-adjustable workbenches. The company’s assembly department is home to 23 people over two shifts, with different sized people switching off on the same bench. Given the large dimensions of the window assemblies, ensuring the entire job was within easy reach of each person—while also eliminating potential stress and strain—was an essential goal.
Since reducing eye strain was also important to Lepo, each bench came equipped with a conveniently located lighting accessory. In the previous manufacturing department, overhead lighting was suspended from the ceiling, thus producing inconsistent and often ineffective light. The new lighting not only casts uniform light, but it’s also positioned at a level above the work surface that makes it extremely unobtrusive.
“A uniform look was essential for us to convey a cohesive, high-quality image,” Lepo says. “The new workbenches in the assembly area allow us to maintain a cleaner, more attractive shop, which creates a better corporate image, as well as a better work environment for our employees.”
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