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HV/LS Fans Keep Workers Comfortable In Extreme Temps

Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:51am

Johnson Level & Tool Manufacturing Company, Inc. manufactures more than 270 types of Johnson brand levels, and distributes nearly 900 other hand tools under the Fuller Tool brand. With its headquarters and manufacturing facility located in Mequon, WI., just north of Milwaukee, Johnson Level & Tool prides itself on its highly efficient loading dock operation, despite temperature extremes often found in the Northern climate. The company says it’s able to maintain optimum dock efficiency and productivity, thanks in part to the recent installation of a technically advanced, high-volume/low-speed (HV/LS) fan.

Employee Comfort Key

According to Johnson Level & Tool Distribution Manager Mario Cherubini, the loading dock environment can be challenging during winters where single-digit temperatures, sub-zero wind chill factors, and fierce winds are the norm. He adds that summers are not always a picnic either, with high temperatures reaching more than 90 degrees F during July and August.

“We’re a family-owned company, and we value our employees,” Cherubini says. “As such, one of our overriding objectives is to ensure that their working conditions are the best they can possibly be. Toward that end, we definitely pay close attention to our loading dock, where we have 20-plus employees working three shifts. They’re the ones who often need to bear the brunt of Mother Nature’s worst.”

On an average day at Johnson Level & Tool’s loading dock, the company processes anywhere from 16 to 20 trailer shipments at its five dock bays, which often makes the area uncomfortable during winter months. To rectify the situation, Johnson Level & Tool installed a number of wall fans to push the air toward ground level. However, the high-speed fans made for windy conditions that created an annoyance and disrupted work. Additionally, the wall fans fell short when it came to equal distribution of warm air throughout the 320-foot-long facility — even with the dock doors closed.

“We had to keep little pet rocks everywhere to keep the paper down when the wall fans were on,” Cherubini says.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Not satisfied with air circulation, Cherubini removed the old HV/LS fan and installed the new Revolution Fan from Rite-Hite Corporation in its place. One of the first things Cherubini noticed when he first turned on the Revolution Fan was the pressure it exerted on the parts weighing scale directly beneath it.

“The old fan pushed about one quarter of a pound of pressure when it was turned on to its highest capacity. With the Rite-Hite fan at the same speed, we’re pushing about a half pound of pressure, so even though it’s unscientific, we know we are getting a lot more air movement and it’s doing it with fewer blades,” he says.

The design of the Revolution Fan features four aluminum Propell-Aire blades, which vary in width and pitch angle along their entire
length. The unique design moves air more consistently across the whole blade, creating an industry-high airflow of more than 360,000 actual cubic feet per minute.

Cherubini’s other major concern when specifying an HV/LS fan was overall quality. The fan is designed with a robust motor and extruded, precision-milled aluminum hub that provides reliable operation with virtually no maintenance. Additionally, the rotationally balanced blade/hub connection utilizes a vibration-absorbing resilient material that reduces stress by 50 to 75 percent to maximize fan life. “The fan not only had to work, but it had to last for years to come,” he says. “We certainly didn’t want to go backward once we found the right solution.”

Better Air Circulation In Minutes

At Johnson Level & Tool, the Revolution Fan was installed during a cold winter day and it was a hit with loading dock employees during the first few minutes of operation.

According to Cherubini, employees’ appreciation of the Revolution Fan continues. “We’re moving the air much better and we’re able to maintain a more consistent temperature throughout the facility. That’s keeping the employees comfortable on cold days, as well as hot ones, especially in the dock area. From a maintenance perspective, I can also see that I won’t need to worry about the fan for a long time. Instead, we can focus on the business at hand.”

Cherubini says he would recommend the Revolution Fan to anyone that has a facility that needs better air circulation. The bottom line, according to Cherubini, is the ability to keep employees comfortable even during the sometimes-harsh Wisconsin weather. “Everyone says happy employees are productive employees,” he says. “It’s definitely something we believe in, and the Revolution Fan is a prime example of how we not only say it, but put words into action.”

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