Gerdau Ameristeel Facility Wins Find It – Fix It Challenge

For the second year in a row, first place in Humantech’s Find It – Fix It Challenge was awarded to Gerdau Ameristeel’s Charlotte, N.C. facility. This year's winning improvement focused on the facility’s Reline Ladle/Brick Chute device.

The Find It – Fix It Challenge recognizes and rewards simple and effective workplace solutions that result in increased productivity, improved worker morale and fewer workplace injuries and illnesses. Organizations were encouraged to submit photos and videos of their best ergonomic improvements for judging by Humantech’s board certified professional ergonomists and staff

Before the fix which earned them the award, Gerdau’s operator manually lowered and stacked bricks to re-line the mill’s ladles, requiring 24 labor-hours of bending, twisting and heavy lifting. After no commercial improvement was found, an internal team designed and built a safe, comfortable and efficient brick chute. The improvement saved 12 labor-hours a week (624 labor-hours per year) and has reduced ergonomic injuries and safety issues.

“The device is saving backs, shoulders and time spent on this job,” says Matt Moore, corporate safety director. He added, “The device will not only benefit our company for many years to come, it also holds promise for many others in the steel industry.”

Gerdau Ameristeel has a patent pending on the device. “It is with great joy and pride that I congratulate our Charlotte organization on this accomplishment,” said Mario Longhi, president and CEO, Gerdau Ameristeel. “The benefits from the improvement are unquestionable.”

Honorable mentions were given to Veyance Technologies for its extrusion/mechanical winch improvement and Genie Industries, Building #7, for its development of an auto cable cutter. The top finalists included Alcoa Fastening Systems; Delta Faucet Co.; Genie Industries – Building #6; the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s Lawton, Okla., and Luxembourg facilities; John Deere Des Moines Works; Terex Load King Trailers; and Trane Commercial Systems.

The 2009 Find It – Fix It Challenge is slated to kick off in early spring. For additional information about the winners of the 2008 Find It – Fix It Challenge or the 2009 kickoff, visit http://www.humantech.com/aboutus/findfix.

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