by Josh Kerst, CPE
Heavy metal, small spaces and healthy hands were the order of the day in early November, as Timken celebrated the finals of their second annual Ergo Cup competition. Presenters from four plants converged in Canton, Ohio, to demonstrate their teams’ creations, which were judged on performance in four categories: ergonomic risk reduction; innovation; simplicity; and cost savings.
A panel of five executive judges from inside and outside the company (including myself) listened to an hour of finalist presentations. After a difficult deliberation, the judges selected the Shiloh Bearing Plant in Rutherfordton, N.C., as this year’s winner for the “Timken Tugger” invention. The mechanical lift-assist machine has a boom and hoist that can be adjusted based on job requirements. The Tugger eliminates the need to reach, bend or twist into confined spaces to lift heavy objects.
“I was impressed with the Timken Tugger from the moment I saw it,” said Tim Timken, chairman, who participated in the event. “It clearly demonstrates the Shiloh Plant’s strong commitment to reducing safety risks and developing tools that allow associates to perform their jobs much more efficiently. They are certainly a worthy recipient of this year’s Ergo Cup, as are all the finalists.”
While Shiloh took home the grand prize, the contest drew interest from around the world, and more than 60 ideas were submitted for consideration. The Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) team was challenged to narrow these down to four. This was no easy task, according to Alan Oberster, vice president of EHS.
“It was really exciting to see so many plants engaged in this year’s competition and dedicated to improving the quality of their work environments,” Alan said. “The real winners are our associates from around the world, who are benefiting from all these great ideas and working more safely as a result.”
Along with Shiloh, the other three finalists that presented were:
- Harrison (Canton, Ohio) Steel Plant – magnetic band hoisting apparatus;
- Manchester (Connecticut) Plant – a custom swash plate lapping tool; and
- Mascot (Tennessee) Plant – modified cone core buffer.
In addition to taking home the Timken Ergo Cup trophy for a year, the Shiloh plant will represent Timken at the 2013 Applied Ergonomics Conference in Dallas, where the Tugger will face off in International Ergo Cup Competition against inventions and improvements from top companies around the world.