Die racks are key to race for space.

Position:News & analysis

Greenheck is on a growth streak, and efficient use of die racks has eased its growing pains.


Having doubled sales in the past five years to almost $500 million, Greenheck is America's leading manufacturer of ventilation equipment. But continuous growth was straining the company's main production facility, which supplies parts nationally.

"We not only had to ramp up production, but also get leaner since we had limited production floor space," says Larry Toboyek, Greenheck's manager of tooling and maintenance at its main production facility in Schofield, WI.

To streamline production and meet quality, cost, and delivery goals, Green heck purchased larger, progressive die stamping presses and built larger dies in its in-house die center. This helped to automate production into an essentially continuous process. The problem: storing the massive dies, measuring up to 8'x8' and weighing up to 10,000lbs, was impossible on standard storage racks, which typically support loads of only 5,000 to 6,000lbs.

"We had to stack heavier, higher, and more flexibly in die racks to meet our space and production requirements," says Doug Baumann, a manufacturing engineer at the Schofield facility. "And the storage racks had to safely withstand potential abuse since many of our operators aren't dedicated fork truck drivers, but hop on and off between jobs. In our 24-hour operation, we couldn't afford to deal with replacing damaged uprights, loose 2x4s or fallen load beams."


The company turned to Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp, a material-handling and automated systems distributor, and Steel King, an industrial die rack and storage rack manufacturer. "Greenheck, which has a decades long relationship with Steel King, selected the die racks for their capacity, structural integrity, and ability to work well with the fork trucks we provided," says Bill Netzel, the CAMH-certified capital equipment representative at Wisconsin Lift Truck who helped with the project.

The heavy-duty Steel King die racks provided Greenheck with the strength, capacity, and flexibility to efficiently store even their largest...

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