In the recent move to a new factory, we have seen some very positive changes to the way we do business at HydroChem.
The new ‘campus feel’ like facility introduces self-driving forklifts and robotic arms that are responsible for chemical handling, eliminating risk to staff in the warehouse. The move signifies some major upgrades to health and safety while generating greater work efficiency across the organisation.
CEO Nick Duncan talks about these improvements and the next chapter of HydroChem in their new digs.
Watch the video or read the transcript below.
The reason we moved was because we wanted to introduce some automation into the process. That was what we saw as important to the organisation from both a health and safety perspective and also an efficiency perspective.
Unfortunately, in the old facility we just didn’t have the space to introduce any of that technology. The other problem was we were intensively using the space as well, so to do any work in the space would have meant having to stop operations, and we were really unable to do that for any extended period of time. In the new facility there’s really not too much close contact with any dangerous goods, so we’ve been able to eliminate a lot of those risks that are associated with chemical manufacturing.
That’s been mainly via using automation, so whether it’s an AGV, so a forklift that’s self-driving, alternatively using robot arms that do the pumping for us. An AGV will take our raw materials to a position and then a robot will pump out of that position into the tank. Then the tank pumps into the holding tank which then gets packed off and the packing off process is now fully automated.
We’ve gone from a situation where we had people packing off into drums, to a fully automated conveyor line where the only human contact is somebody picking up a packed pallet that’s been wrapped at the end of the line. We plan to be here for a long time and it was important to us that it had more of a campus feel, as opposed to a warehouse box. What we’ve done is we’ve actually engaged architects who normally design schools and universities and they’ve designed a building that is more approachable in terms of the style of it and the way it looks and feels. This year we’re holding our Christmas party at the facility.
Especially when it comes to technology, there’s a lot of aspects to this operation that normally you’d only see on TV, especially kids, they’ll be seeing it for the first time and it will be exciting for everybody and also memorable, you know, “Now I’ve seen where mom and dad work.” So it’s important for us, especially being a family company, a lot of employees who’ve worked with us for a long time, so maintain that longevity of employment.
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