Proof of Performance: Manufacturer E-Pak Invests in Second Positioner After Seeing Results from Initial Investment

E-Pak imageWhen leadership at E-Pak Manufacturing invested in a positioner for its plant based in Wooster, Ohio, they knew it would transform their process. As manufacturers of high-quality, customizable steel roll-off containers, trailers and more, E-Pak turned to positioners to increase productivity and safety for their team handling large trailer bodies.

E-Pak Director of Operations Randy Lukesh said he was impressed from the start, and he knew that his crew was going to be eager to start using the positioner.

“It rotates the trailer like a rotisserie on a BBQ,” Lukesh said. “It allows us to have a lot less walking, a lot less climbing around and a lot happier of a team member at the end of the day. That’s huge for us.”

The impact was obvious in the first 30 days. ALM Positioners specializes in welding and assembly positioners to increase manufacturing productivity, safety and ergonomics. By teaming up with tooling partner Holbert Engineering, they created a custom solution built to deliver greater uptime and reliability, which was exactly what E-Pak needed.
After deploying the first ALM positioner, Lukesh and his staff saw an immediate improvement in productivity, increasing product throughput by approximately 40 percent. The next decision was a no-brainer. They ordered a second headstock and tailstock positioner within the first month.

“The ALM team was on-site for a follow-up visit,” said Kelly Sailor, regional sales manager for ALM. “The CEO said to us, how fast can you make another one for me?”

Before utilizing the positioner, accessing every weld was a cumbersome process, requiring constant adjustment of ladders and cranes, leaving welders fatigued and creating safety concerns. But the first trailer made with the positioner was proof of their return on investment.

“The very first trailer that they made out of that fixture and positioner was the best trailer they’d ever made, geometrically,” said Sailor. “That was the squarest, truest trailer that they had ever built. So that was that was great to hear.”

Expanded product offerings

E-Pak is utilizing the 55K elevating headstock and tailstock with custom tooling. Now with two positioners on the plant floor, the company is looking at opportunities to expand product offerings using positioners at a new plant in Georgia producing roll-off containers.

“The positioner has improved everything across the board for us,” said Lukesh. “The positioner brings the weld to you. Our team is nowhere near as fatigued at the end of the day because the positioner makes it so much easier to weld.”

Productivity is key for any manufacturer, but worker safety comes first. That’s another area where positioners changed the game for E-Pak, during both assembly and changeovers. Before, changeovers required Lukesh’s team to use overhead cranes and a forklift to move the body of the trailer, a time-consuming and risky endeavor. With the positioner, they simply tighten clamps and begin welding.

“Ever since we brought in the positioner, our team has been excited to use it,” Lukesh said. “I would even say there is a little bit of jealousy on the floor from our staff who isn’t using it, yet.”

Not only has it reenergized the team, but it also makes it much easier to train new welders, which is critical while facing staffing challenges and a shortage of skilled labor. The ALM team is proud of the relationship they’ve built with the team at E-Pak and looks forward to more opportunities to revolutionize their processes.

“We listened to their input, and we put together a solution that delivered exactly as expected – and then some,” said Sailor. “Our goal is to repeat that for every client!”

Ready to see how you can invest in your operations with a positioner? We’re ready to help. Give our team a call at (309) 787-6200 or fill out our form.

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