Like many manufacturers, Ball Corporation’s aluminum end manufacturing facility in Bristol, VA has numerous trucks dropping off and picking up material throughout the day. In a loud and secure facility like Ball’s, drivers were often unable to signal their arrival to the tow motor operators on the plant floor creating an inefficient operation with daily delays. Ball management was looking for a reliable and economical way for truck drivers to notify the tow motor operators that they were present for either loading or unloading of materials.
The first solution contemplated was to hardwire a pushbutton in the dock area to a light on the plant floor to signal the tow motor operators that a truck was present. Upon further discussion and consideration about the distance and lack of that solution’s flexibility, it was decided that a wireless system would provide a better economical solution. Using wireless radios, a pushbutton could be mounted in the dock area for the drivers to trigger when they arrive activating a corresponding light(s) mounted on the tow motor to will alert operators that a truck is present.
Jobe and Company recommended Ball Corporation use Banner’s SureCross DX80 point-to-multipoint wireless system. The DX80’s industrial design, intuitive programming, field reliability and economical price points made it the logical choice for this application. The gateway radio was wall-mounted and wired to a simple push button with the corresponding wireless nodes located on each of the tow motors and wired to a Banner General Purpose Column Light. The gateway and associated equipment was easily mounted in a convenient location with the antennas in a “line of sight” position for optimal signal strength. The gateway was programmed to turn on each node’s light for approximately 20-30 seconds. In addition, the pushbutton in the dock area illuminated to let the truck driver know that he has successfully signaled the tow motor operator.
The installation and programming was performed in less than a day and the results were as designed, with reduced wait times, decreased congestion in the dock area and overall improvement in the loading areas efficiencies leading to a smoother supply chain to and from the factory floor.
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