Casebook 2011: Ergonomic casters deliver the goods for KIA Motors

Automobile manufacturer replaces lift trucks to reduce injuries at its new Georgia plant.

By ·

While many are replacing carts and manual pulling with lift truck fleets, one company has done just the opposite. And thanks to durable and ergonomic caster technology (Caster Concepts, 517-629-8838, http://www.casterconcepts.com), worker safety and maneuverability have actually increased.

KIA Motors’ new automobile manufacturing plant in West Point, Ga., is filled with miles of conveyors and hundreds of robots. But the classic solution under many of the carts on the assembly line enables a safer, fork-free environment.

When KIA made the decision for parts and components to be pulled by tuggers or manually by operators to the line, it knew back and shoulder injuries could have a dramatic impact on the company’s productivity and profitability. With a firm understanding of these “hidden” costs, the company was determined to find the casters that would provide the best ergonomic results while meeting the durability requirements needed for their just-in-time delivery system.

The automaker tested various designs in side-by-side push/pull testing of a variety of casters. After eight months of rigorous testing, the company selected casters that required 25% less force to move loaded carts than the alternatives. The assembly line is now an environment where lift truck traffic is kept to a minimum to reduce incidents and injuries.

Although the specially designed casters were not the cheapest option, KIA determined that they delivered the best return on investment overall. Since then, several of the company’s suppliers have also chosen the same casters on carts bound for KIA plants.

 


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Capturing Labor, Space, and Accuracy Returns with AS/RS
Find out how the demand of e-commerce and digital age expectations are driving the need to automate material handling with AS/RS solutions to improve labor productivity, save space, and reduce costs associated with inaccurate picks
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for the fourth time in 20 years and shorten order delivery time from 10 days to three.
10th Annual Salary Survey: The Price of Performance
Let’s put Automatic Data Capture (ADC) Technology to Work
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
A new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business for...
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.