Last month, KABTech traveled to Atlanta, GA to take part in the supply chain expo, Modex. We were there every day of the expo showcasing our modular product solutions for office and manufacturing unit needs.
As time allowed, we toured the floor to discover the latest production, distribution and supply chain solutions from the industry’s leading innovators. We are grateful we had the opportunity to sit down with Eddie Murphy, President of SpaceGuard, a manufacturer of innovative storage and area guarding products.
As a distributor of SpaceGuard products, we wanted to get the company’s perspective on everything from industry trends to safety in the workplace to the future of manufacturing. The following is excerpted from our interview:
KABTech: What are some of the key trends/ways you see organizations shape safety in the workplace this year?
Eddie Murphy: I see a large increase in the need for machine guarding, whereas, back in the day, people would find any way to try to avoid permanent enclosures, fixed enclosures, and barrier guards (which we manufacture). They would try to replace those with light curtains over large spans and what they would find out is maybe it was not a great idea. Maybe they should have invested in safety in the first place; maybe they should have had the hard guarding up.
Machine guarding is extremely important, and we are continually developing our line to ensure it meets all the safety specifications and goes up quickly. A big thing with machine safety is that, when it is going up, people do not want your back to the machine at any point when you are installing it because many times the material is being installed while the machine is actually running. So we have recently come out with a system that allows you to hang a removable panel in between two posts with a captured pin system that you just self-tap screw in once mounted. It is a quick installation, and it is very easy for maintenance folks to get in, attach the panel, and get out that broken piece of scrap or something along those lines in order to keep the line running.
So it is a big change for us, and there’s a lot of money being spent on safety.
KABTech: What are some of the key trends that you are seeing in the industrial manufacturing industry this year?
EM: The trends have stayed pretty consistent over the last few years since we came through the economic recovery, where companies are still reluctant to make any decisions to purchase. But despite this, we see very positive signs of recovery.
The thing I find most amazing about the industry, in general, is just that how much controls & equipment have evolved. Instead of worrying about how I am going to keep somebody from running into a wall, for example, why not put an electronic device on the fork truck that has it stop before it actually runs into the wall?
KABTech: Yeah, we have heard a lot of people talk about the increase in automation.
EM: People want things faster, quicker, and they want them to be responsive to the environment. One of the things we are trying to do is make things quicker on our distributors like KABTech to try to get quotes turned around quicker. Everybody wants information quickly. When you get a price on the internet, our distributors really need that quick support.
KABTech: Any key takeaways from Modex?
EM: It has been steady traffic, a lot of new faces, and that is a good, positive sign. I think people are looking for other products to serve and to develop right now because it is a very competitive market. We have got a lot of different ways to solve issues, but having a bunch of solutions at your fingertips is pretty helpful.
Stay tuned for additional interview excerpts, blog posts, and key takeaways from Modex 2014!