<< Return to list
Shout it from the Rooftops: Paper & Forest Products Team Helps Alpine Equipment Raise Roofs around the World
April 28, 2008
While we all appreciate the roofs over our heads, most of us don’t think about how our roof was built, let alone how the pieces of the roof came to be formed. Yet for rooftops around the world, the answer to this question is often the same: most roofs today are made with pre-fabricated truss units that are built with the industry’s leading trackless truss fabrication system, called RAM EASY RIDER™.
This highly efficient system is built by Alpine Equipment, a division of ITW Building Components Group, Inc., and is used throughout the world by the building component industry. In fact, one truss plant alone has 16 EASY RIDER units in everyday operation. Builders rely on this machine because it offers a highly effi cient method of assembling roof trusses quickly. The trusses that come off the RAM EASY RIDER not only create an incredibly strong roof system, but the system also uses less material than traditional stick-built methods that are constructed on-site.
Time for a Change
For years the fabrication system was powered by the same gear motor product, but when the product manufacturer made design changes, their units were no longer suitable for the demanding application. Ken Kellenberger, the buyer for Alpine Equipment, says it came down to withstanding stress. “The process of pressing the steel plates into the wood causes stress loads that led to the units failing,” Kellenberger explains. “While we tried to fi nd a solution with the manufacturer, we couldn’t make it work, and we were forced to make a change.”
Mary Bryant works in Alpine Equipment customer service and handles warranty issues for the company. Given that she works directly with customers, she knew fi rst-hand how these gear motor failures were impacting Alpines’ customers. “This was a real issue, that was causing as many as two to three failures a week, which meant that our customers were shut down while we shipped replacements,” says Bryant. “We have a good reputation for taking care of our customers, and we knew that we quickly needed to find a solution to this issue.”
Importance of Partnership
The local distributor serving Alpine realized that to fi nd the right product for the application, they first needed to fi nd a product manufacturer that had a strong reputation for industry engineering support. They recommended that Alpine turn to the engineers on the Baldor Dodge Reliance paper and forest products industry solutions team. It was the first step toward creating a new partnership that would lead to a real and lasting solution.
“The industry team contacted us and said they would go to a customer site, inspect the equipment in application, and provide us documentation on why it was failing,” says Kellenberger. “These engineers became our partners and approached solving the problem as if they were employees of our company. They put a lot of work into studying the application and doing the mathematical equations for the stress analysis. We felt like they were on our side.”
After the team had finished the analysis, they met with Alpine to present their findings and provide specific product recommendations. Mary Bryant was in the meeting when the industry team gave its report. “We were blown away by their presentation,” says Bryant. “They had definitely done their homework and all of the research. They computed all of the over hung loads for the shaft, they had the drawings that explained everything, and they came up with a good product recommendation.”
A Reliable Solution
It was shortly after the presentation that Alpine decided to go with the Dodge product solution: a Dodge QUANTIS In-line Helical (ILH) threepiece coupled C-face gearbox with a Reliance Brakemotor and Dodge D-Series brake. The industry team proved to Alpines’ satisfaction that the casting of the QUANTIS gear box was strong enough to handle the stress loads the truss fabrication system creates. More than a year later, Alpine is still satisfied.
“The Dodge gear boxes are very well made, very well gusseted, and very robust,” says Bryant. “There are more than 120 pieces of equipment with the Dodge gear box and we have not had any customers calling us with hard failures that cause downtime.”
While Alpine is pleased with the product solution, they are more grateful for the partnership they now have with the industry engineering team. “It was a team effort and that’s why we had success,” says Kellenberger. “This industry team partnered with us to provide engineering expertise and they very quickly solved the problem and provided a solution. We got the attention and help we needed to serve our customers.”