Fans help manufacturer weather sub-zero winters

Two fans boost comfort and cut energy costs for boat manufacturer.

By ·

Old Town manufactures and sells canoes, kayaks and accessories worldwide. Several years ago, the company moved out of its century-old, multistory building and into a new 136,000-square-foot production facility. Heating the large facility proved costly during the long Maine winters, when the area’s average low temperature is well below freezing.

Following the move to the new facility, Old Town realized the difficulty of keeping workers warm near the docks.

“A lot of heat was being trapped in the ceiling,” says Eric Schmidt, engineering manager for Old Town. “The temperature in the mezzanine was 85 degrees. We were basically burning up a whole lot of fuel to heat the ceiling.”

The factory also has a break area near a line of giant natural gas fired ovens, in which aluminum boat molds create the hulls of molded canoes and kayaks. While the temperature neared 85 degrees near the ceiling, the break room itself could be as cool as 60 degrees.

After installing two high-volume fans (Kelley,, the company enjoys year-round comfort that keeps employees comfortable and production steady.
“We discovered fans could balance out our heating and cooling load,” says Schmidt. “We brought in one as a pilot for the loading dock area. The results were evident right away, and Old Town quickly installed a second one over the break area.

The heater is activated by a sensor, and thanks to the fans, it runs less often. The fans also eliminate stagnant air and create a pleasant breeze in the summer heat, says Schmidt. They are set to run at 30% in the winter, and 70% in the summer. Even at the higher speed, the even air flow does not blow papers around or create any other distractions. “The fans basically always get the temperature right,” says Schmidt.

Schmidt estimates that the two fans have reduced heating costs by roughly 15%. There are plans for additional fans projected to reduce heating costs by 20%. Schmidt says the fans are forecast to pay for themselves in the first year. 

About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing 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
Hydrogen, the Future of Materials Handling
Large, successful organizations are integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into their lift truck fleets and benefiting from lower operational costs, reduced emissions and improved reliability.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order fulfillment process and increased throughput with near 100% accuracy.
System Report: Brownells new DC is flexible and responsive
Pallet Usage Report: Pallets Remain Critical in the Modern-Day Warehouse
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Pallets: Supporting Product, Processes and the Enterprise
The smallest leak in performance or cost can bring a lean, nimble and speedy supply chain to a halt. During this 30-minute webcast we'll examine how Modern's readers use pallets to keep the wheels turning as they maneuver a road filled with sharp edges and potholes.
Register Today!
Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...

American Eagle Outfitters’ omni-channel journey
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true...
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...