cadalyst
Management

Conveyor Manufacturer Keeps Things Moving (Cadalyst Daily Archive)

15 Oct, 2006 By: Kenneth Wong

Hytrol's Autodesk-based engineered-to-order system employs 12 rules to generate 25,000 product options


Manufacturing
 

Which would you rather manage: 25,000 product configurations or 12 engineering rules? Unless you're inexplicably addicted to complicated spreadsheets, you'd undoubtedly pick 12 over 25,000. In fact, a dozen well-developed design formulas may be all you need to drive 25,000 product iterations. That's what conveyor manufacturer Hytrol Conveyor discovered.

Loberg's Legacy
At a friend's urging, Tom Loberg, a 30-year-old machine shop operator who had survived the Great Depression, built a modest conveyor system for handling bags of seed and feed. It was the first product of what would later become Hytrol Conveyor, founded by Loberg in 1947. Six decades later, the late Loberg's legacy is a thriving international business, with market presence in 13 countries in addition to the United States. Working behind the scenes, Hytrol equipment helps companies such as Barnes & Noble, Costco, FedEx and Office Max keep shipping and sorting operations running smoothly. The company produces a variety of conveying and sorting machines that can be customized according to their physical dimensions, set-ups (horizontal, incline or portable), the types of curves and belts involved and other specifications. That translates to a bloated BOM (bill of materials) archive of more than 1 million products.  
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About the Author: Kenneth Wong