A heavy-equipment manufacturer partnered with Southern to ease the workload in their own engineering department. They assigned Southern to develop a solution that would improve upon an existing pipe stand product line. They needed it to be economical to produce but tough enough to handle heavy sticks of plastic pipe in harsh outdoor environments. It was important that it help create safer working conditions while advancing pipe handling activities in the field.
With these parameters in hand, Southern's engineering team went to work. They looked at the existing product and set off to value engineer a more robust solution. Since expense as well as cost to the customer had to be in line with the existing product, we looked at several ways to save both time and money. In the design process, we chose to use new urethane covered rollers (instead of aluminum rollers used previously). This benefited the customer in several ways. It reduced lead times from vendors and saved on inventory costs – cutting waste from their supply chain. The new rollers also provided for a better end product by increasing the grip on the pipe and reducing the overall weight.
To reduce strain placed on operators in the field, our engineers designed a hand-powered hydraulic pump unit that would allow the stand to be adjusted much more easily. With the previous product, pipe had to be removed and held by a piece of heavy equipment while adjustments were being made. The hydraulic operations our team of experts put in place took that entire step out of the process – allowing the operator to adjust the pipe on his own. This helped to create a safer working environment and speed up operations.
By opting to contract manufacture their pipe stands with Southern, the customer scored a number of benefits. We consolidated their supply chain, developed a more robust product and decreased the strain on their in-house engineering department all while maintaining the high level of construction their customers had come to expect.
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