At American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO), we believe in fostering a culture that places the utmost importance on the well-being and safety of our employees, customers, and the community at large. As we embrace the month of June, we want to highlight one of our core values: “Life Matters, Be Safe.” This core value serves as a reminder to prioritize safety in every aspect of our operations, and it underscores our commitment to creating a safe environment for everyone involved.
Promoting a Safety-First Culture
At American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO), safety is not just a set of rules and regulations—It’s a way of life. We understand that a strong safety culture is vital for the success and longevity of our company. We implement comprehensive safety programs and train our employees to recognize and mitigate potential risks. Life Matters, and we firmly believe that safety is the most crucial investment we can make. It is not about what it costs, but what it saves. With this mantra deeply ingrained in our values, we instill a “Be Safe” mindset in every aspect of our operations. By prioritizing safety, we protect the well-being of our employees, prevent accidents, and ensure the future prosperity of our organization.
Employee Training and Development
We firmly believe that well-trained employees are the foundation of a safe workplace. Through regular training sessions, workshops, and certification programs, we ensure that our employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their jobs safely. We provide ongoing education and encourage continuous learning to stay up to date with the latest safety standards and industry best practices.
“The inspectors from American Crane always do a great job with our cranes, whether it’s the regular quarterly inspection or a unit repair. The reports I receive are very well written and accurate which is a great way to monitor our cranes and to keep up with repairs and maintenance.”
– Bruce, Contracting Representative
Safety Equipment and Technology
Investing in state-of-the-art safety equipment and technology is a fundamental aspect of our commitment to safety. We equip our team members with the necessary tools and protective gear to minimize hazards and promote a safe working environment. By leveraging advanced technology, such as real-time monitoring systems and predictive analytics, we strive to identify potential safety issues before they escalate, ensuring the well-being of our workforce.
Risk Assessment and Prevention
Identifying and mitigating potential risks is a cornerstone of our safety initiatives. Our experienced safety professionals conduct thorough risk assessments and hazard analyses to identify potential dangers in our operations. By proactively addressing these risks and implementing appropriate control measures, we aim to prevent accidents and injuries.
Open Communication and Reporting
Maintaining open lines of communication is crucial for effective safety management. At American Crane, we encourage our employees to report any safety concerns promptly. By fostering a culture of trust and accountability, we ensure that potential issues are addressed promptly, allowing us to continually improve and evolve our safety practices.
We understand that safety is an ongoing process. Through regular audits, inspections, and feedback from our employees, we constantly evaluate and improve our safety protocols. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, we can adapt to emerging safety challenges and maintain our commitment to excellence in safety performance.
Safety as a Shared Responsibility
As we reflect on safety as an integral part of ACECO’s company culture, we are reminded of the mantra that guides us: “Life Matters, Be Safe.” This phrase encapsulates our unwavering commitment to prioritize the well-being and safety of our employees, customers, and the wider community. At ACECO, safety is not just a set of rules and regulations; it is a way of life that we wholeheartedly embrace. Through comprehensive safety programs, continuous employee training, and the utilization of advanced safety equipment and technology, we strive to create a workplace where every individual can thrive without compromising their safety. We conduct thorough risk assessments, encourage open communication, and foster a culture of continuous improvement to ensure that safety remains at the forefront of our operations. We understand that safety is a shared responsibility, and by working together, we can cultivate an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and protected.
Contamination in the manufacturing process can compromise the quality of the end product and the safety of the staff involved in the manufacturing or even the final consumer. Many companies invest in cleanrooms to maintain a controlled environment free from contaminants and particles, ensuring the quality and safety of their products and processes.
Cleanrooms significantly reduce the number of contaminants, such as aerosol particles, dust, chemical vapors, and airborne microbes. This regulated level of contamination makes these spaces ideal for many industries where small particles can impact the quality of a product. At American Cranes, we are experts in providing material handling solutions. We offer industry-leading cleanroom cranes that adhere to strict standards and specifications.
Learn more about clean room cranes and the solutions we can deliver for your company.
Industries Served by Revolutionary Cleanroom Technology
Cleanrooms have a controlled level of contamination – by specifying the maximum number and size of particles per cubic meter allowed in the room. For instance, a typical city environment has 35 million particles per cubic meter (0.5 microns and larger in diameter), a contamination level corresponding to an ISO 9 cleanroom.
ISO 14633-1 offers guidance for acceptable air quality levels within the designated clean room ISO classes. The lowest level is ISO 9 and corresponds to a typical city environment. Whereas, ISO 1 allows only up to 12 particles per cubic meter (3 microns and smaller).
Cleanrooms have particle counters which detect and count physical contaminants. Physical counting can indicate potential issues within an otherwise controlled processing environment. For example, it can help discover issues such as a malfunctioning part of air handling equipment or a gap in a door seal. After detecting the issue, the staff can find ways to rectify and maintain the required level of contamination.
Cleanrooms are crucial in all industries where small particles can impact manufacturing. American Crane has experience in offering material handling solutions for various industries, including:
Pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals
Food and beverage
Cosmetics and perfumes
Hospital and healthcare facilities
Research and life science
Semiconductor manufacturing facilities must effectively manage a range of environmental factors including temperature, airflow, noise, lighting, vibration, humidity, airborne particles, and temperature fluctuations over time, with a high degree of precision and control. Regulating these parameters is crucial since a single dust particle is enough to render a chip useless.
In the semiconductor industry, cleanroom cranes are essential for handling delicate equipment and materials without introducing contamination to the controlled environment of the cleanroom, and these cranes must adhere to strict design requirements such as using non-particulating materials, featuring smooth surfaces and edges, and maintaining a positive air pressure within the crane system to prevent infiltration of unfiltered air.
Semiconductor cleanrooms must meet ISO Class 5 or lower, which limits particles to 3,520 at 0.5 microns or smaller for each cubic meter of air. They must also adhere to ISO 14644-2, which requires the implementation of a quality control system subject to specific classification criteria.
Some applications may require a semiconductor fabrication plant to adhere to industry regulations from the SEMI Standards Program, various industry technical committees, task forces, and other regulatory bodies. These standards, alongside ISO, ensure the cleanroom environment is continuously controlled and that products have a consistent and long-lasting quality.
Federal agencies such as the EMA, the Dutch CBG, and the US FDA regulate the pharmaceutical industry heavily. While no regulations or laws apply specifically to pharmaceutical cleanrooms, companies with controlled spaces in the industry set high standards to prevent contamination, micro-bacterial growth, and gas or dust explosions.
Cleanroom cranes are used in the pharmaceutical industry to transport and handle sensitive materials and equipment in a controlled environment to prevent contamination. Specific design requirements for cleanroom cranes in this industry include the use of materials that are resistant to corrosion, easy to clean and maintain, and do not emit any particles, while also featuring a smooth, seamless construction and a positive air pressure system to prevent unfiltered air infiltration.
Food & Beverage Industry
The food and beverage industry involves various manual tasks that can increase product quality and sanitation risks. Clean room cranes give better process control, increase production efficiency and improve safety and hygiene. Typically, food and beverage companies use stainless steel equipment in their cleanrooms, which is food-grade and resistant to the harsh chemicals used to clean the equipment. However, they must ensure proper installation to improve accessibility to all parts of the crane, easing cleaning. In addition, cleanroom equipment should not leave any hollow spaces since they are difficult to clean.
Aerospace manufacturing involves frequently lifting, turning, and positioning large components during assembly. Since the items hoisted are sensitive to damage and any mistake could lead to significant production delays, aerospace manufacturers must choose specially designed cleanroom cranes that meet stringent industry standards.
American Crane takes pride in our experience designing thedouble girder crane for The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The administration had challenges lifting its first spacecraft (Orion), built for long-term crewed spaceflight and exploration. We designed a double girder crane, allowing NASA to lift the spacecraft to its final position. The crane is still in use today for sensitive hoisting applications.
Cleanroom Cranes from American Crane
Cleanroom cranes are crucial in manufacturing products in highly sensitive fields where environmental contamination must be minimized. The engineered spaces maintain a low level of airborne particles, guaranteeing product quality and safety.
At American Cranes, we have over four decades of material handling experience and can offer cleanroom crane solutions that meet stringent requirements for any industry.Contact us today torequest a quote.
We love analogies! For many years, we have referenced the sunstone as a tribute to our Norwegian heritage. The Vikings used the sunstone to locate the sun and stars to navigate in rough waters. At American Crane, our sunstone is our people. Though every project may not be easy, we give our employees the foundation to make decisions and problem-solve to absolutely fulfill and delight our customers. We do what we commit to do, do it well, and do it on schedule.
We believe our strength is in our team members, and we are committed to a culture that fosters their growth, empowerment, and safety.
CEO of American Crane, Karen Norheim, explains her vision:
“At American Crane, we believe that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. That is why we are building the business for where we are going, not just where we are.”
If you water and nurture your garden, your career, your family, your friends, and if you spread the seeds and till the soil, you will prepare for future generations and gardens to come. This relates to our culture at American Crane. The garden year cycles through, and we cultivate our employee relationships to grow our business together as a team. We want to make sure that we have a business environment that allows everyone to thrive.
We believe that the longevity of our customer relationships comes from nurturing our employees. As our mission states, we put perseverance, heart, and integrity into everything we do.
We are here for the long term and look forward to servicing our customers for the next 50 years!
From high-tech manufacturing to the food and beverage, medical, and pharmaceutical industries, cleanrooms make it possible to process sensitive materials under the strictest conditions. As a leader in custom cleanroom crane technology, we’ll cover what goes into a cleanroom, its numerous benefits, and how the cleanroom industry supports the stringent needs of semiconductor manufacturers.
What Is a Cleanroom?
A cleanroom is a highly managed environment with strict controls over particulates, aerosols, humidity, and other environmental factors. It provides advanced filtration of pollutants, such as dust and even gases, to maintain the cleanest work site possible. This is important for companies manufacturing or researching highly sensitive electronics and perishable items. Sensitive electronics such as semiconductors depend on cleanrooms because they’re highly vulnerable to damage.
Depending on the exact thresholds of the instruments or products being fabricated or handled, custom cleanrooms allow control over a range of variables, such as:
This is achieved with an intricate series of fans, HEPA or ULPA filtration systems, and other specialized HVAC components. These components must be calibrated to function together for the tightest possible controls over all relevant environmental variables within the enclosed workspace.
Specialty equipment must also be used in the cleanroom. ISO 14644-2 (previously FS209E) sets the industry standard with several cleanliness classification levels.
The Vital Role of Cleanrooms in Manufacturing
Manufacturing cleanrooms are vital when high-value components depend on contaminant-free manufacturing. Electromagnetically sensitive components must be built to exact tolerances, and this can only be achieved with strict control over the fabrication, testing, and packaging environments.
Even manufacturing equipment, such as cranes and hoists, must be built to similarly strict standards to reduce contamination. NASA contractors are increasingly designing custom cleanroom equipment to both reduce contamination and make stringent manufacturing procedures possible.
With cleanroom hoists and cranes, cleanrooms can be protected further by reducing or eliminating the need for people to work directly in the room. Cleanroom cranes are also capable of lifting and manipulating objects with exacting, replicable precision.
The cleanroom industry serves numerous other industries, most notably:
Food and beverage
In the latter two industries, cleanrooms ensure products are free of contamination before being sold for public consumption.
High-tech industries rely on manufacturing cleanrooms to keep sensitive equipment from being tainted by pollutants. Even small particulates or temperature fluctuations could damage devices with extremely low tolerance thresholds and strict operating conditions, such as semiconductors. Wafers, substrates, and other materials must be assembled with extreme delicacy.
Doing so requires an environment free of environmental contaminants such as dust, chemical vapors, and sometimes even airborne microbes. Depending on the cleanroom’s application, assembly parameters can be set according to specific, allowable contamination levels. It depends on the product being used and which ISO 14644-2 cleanroom classification level is appropriate for the intended use.
Benefits of a Semiconductor Manufacturing Clean Room
A semiconductor cleanroom provides many benefits that would otherwise be impossible or greatly reduced, including:
Consistent Product Quality
Safer Working Conditions
Semiconductor manufacturing is more reliable and replicable with proper cleanroom equipment. Product loss is greatly minimized, for reduced costs and material waste. For engineers, more exact manufacturing techniques become possible, leading to greater innovations.
Cleanroom cranes are the key to consistently replicable semiconductor cleanroom processes, due to their programmability and exacting precision. Other semiconductor manufacturing equipment can be calibrated accordingly, reducing the need for inexact manual processes that introduce unnecessary variables and contaminants into the cleanroom space.
Cleanroom Cranes from American Crane
American Crane’s cleanroom cranes are designed with special shields and components that prevent pollutants and debris from contaminating the room in which they reside, as well as other equipment. They’re also designed with silver ion coatings to prevent microorganism growth, supporting even the strictest long-term cleanroom standards.
Cleanrooms are essential environments for many industries, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and semiconductors. They are designed to minimize the presence of particles that can contaminate products and equipment. One of the most effective ways to ensure the cleanliness of a cleanroom is through particle counting. Performance can be a significant factor in determining the right particle counter to manage a cleanroom that complies with ISO 14644-1. The particle counter detects individual particles and counts them. It can identify solid, liquid, and aerosol particles depending on the type of particle counter, but cleanrooms only use aerosol counters.
Aerosol particle counters count and measure particles to determine the cleanroom’s air quality. They are used extensively in cleanrooms to test the cleanroom and classify it under air quality standards based on predetermined particle count limits. We will explore particle counters and their use in the semiconductor industry for contamination control to help you understand the benefits of minimizing airborne particles for semiconductor manufacturing.
Particle Contamination Control for the Semiconductor Industry
Particle Counters for Gases
Advanced technology manufacturers, such as state-of-the-art semiconductors, precision optics, disk drives, and LED/OLED display producers, rely on ultra-high purity gases in their high-volume production processes. The gases are supplied to process tools to protect products during production and create an atmosphere for reactions that positively impact the product. Substandard gases can contribute to ionic contaminants that change the electrical properties, decrease thin film adhesion, and point defects that reduce yield rates.
Manufacturers can ensure the gases meet particle control specifications by monitoring the gas source for continuous quality control (CQC). Gas quality can be evaluated and adjusted, and its cleanliness can be validated using high-pressure diffusers and laser particle counters in the distribution piping. The ideal strategy relies on periodic and continuous monitoring to ensure high-purity gas at various points to ensure the final point remains high-quality.
Particle Counters for Air
The semiconductor industry relies on cleanrooms to control the product manufacturing environment to protect product quality from particle contamination. Active air filtration systems are commonly employed in cleanrooms to decrease airborne particulates to the specified limits. Operators can determine the effectiveness of the filtration, its impact on the process or products, and the source of contamination through particulate monitoring. Manufacturers often choose an aerosol particle counter based on their budget and application. Air particle counters can identify debris like bolts falling from the crane that may compromise the air quality in the room. Cleanroom cranes are designed to prevent particulate debris from entering the cleanroom space from the crane equipment.
Benefits of Particle Counting
Cleanroom particle counters deliver the following benefits to cleanrooms used in semiconductor manufacturing:
Real-Time Response: Particle counting monitoring systems offer detection and warning when the particles in the air exceed pre-defined limits. They can help reduce yield losses when the environmental conditions are not desirable by alerting operators or supervisors of the conditions in real time.
Proactive Contamination Control: Cleanroom particle counting systems allow manufacturers proactive monitoring of contamination issues before they have a chance to cause damage.
High-Quality Component Production: Electronic assembly processes require a high-purity environment. In semiconductor manufacturing, a cleanroom environment is required for the refinement process of the semiconductor seed material to produce semiconductors with high clarity throughout the manufacturing process until post-production and assembly of the semiconductors and other electronic components.
Partner with American Crane
Manufacturers of cutting-edge technology, such as semiconductor plants, rely on heavily monitored cleanroom conditions to ensure their product yield is of the highest quality. Manufacturers commonly employ particle counters to monitor particles in the air and ensure a safe limit is maintained. Several types of particle counters offer performance in detecting and counting aerosol, liquid, and solid particles. Semiconductor manufacturers rely on aerosol particle counters to maintain high-quality gas streams for their process tools and monitor air conditions in cleanrooms where the semiconductors are developed from start to finish.
American Crane & Equipment Corporation’s cleanroom cranes minimize the risk of contamination by meeting high standards and strict specifications to prevent introducing particulates to the cleanroom environment. Our cleanroom cranes are manufactured in-house or by reputable suppliers to ensure our standards are met and feature components like shielding to prevent contamination. Visit our online store to browse our selection of products for semiconductor manufacturing cleanrooms. Contact us or request a quote to learn more about our capabilities.
How American Crane & Equipment Corporation Plans to Leverage Digital Advancement in Manufacturing
Reality: the world or state of things as they exist, opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. Ironic, because as we navigate this gift called life, we often try to push the notions of what we think the future should be upon the present. Thanks to the images portrayed in science fiction and our fast-approaching technological advancements, we find ourselves on the precipice of a landslide—a sort of digital revolution; one that will make us question our reality on Earth. The technology that stands to change life as we know it is known as virtual reality—but it does not stop there—closely related to VR, there is also mixed reality, augmented reality, and extended reality. Each has its own unique functions, capable of being configured to be used in any industry. In this article, we will learn about the different types of “reality,” how they are best suited to aid the field of manufacturing, and how ACECO plans to integrate such technologies into our best practices.
Reality is not to be confused with the physical world. Reality, in its essence, is a construct comprised of our senses and how they perceive the environment we are in. For instance, you and I may be sitting in the same room, but the shade of blue on the wall may appear to be a different hue to both of us. This is important to say because this is why digital realities have such an impression on us; they take aspects of our current environment and apply sound, feelings, and visuals that alter what we perceive. Let’s learn about the different types of reality and what sets them apart from each other.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality is a technology that places the user in a fully immersive environment, where the physical world is completely blocked out. This experience tends to generate a visceral emotional response since the user’s view is controlled in 360 degrees, along with their entire auditory system. This is typically done with a VR headset like the Oculus and can even be coupled with a not so inexpensive omni-directional treadmill which the user straps into, allowing them to move freely across their virtual world, without interfering with the physical—avoiding hazards like that brand-new flatscreen or the sharp corner of your coffee table.
What is Mixed Reality (MR)?
Mixed reality makes it possible to superimpose a digital element over a real-world environment, while also allowing the two to interact with each other. Digital and physical realities become one, therefore MR experiences receive input from their environment and can alter themselves accordingly. This becomes capable with devices like the HoloLens or even an app on your phone.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
AR is similar to MR in the way that it allows digital elements to be superimposed over real-world elements, but it differs slightly because the digital elements do not have the ability to interact with the physical elements of its environment. This technology is already revolutionizing industries like gaming, education, manufacturing, and healthcare. Imagine you are a nurse having trouble locating a patient’s vein; with AR technology like that pioneered by Accuvien, an image of the patient’s veins can be superimposed onto their arm to make for a seamless injection.
What is Extended Reality (XR)?
Extended or cross-reality technology groups every sort of digital reality mentioned above. It creates a master experience using aspects from each, placing the user in a completely immersive experience. A lot of XR technology is still in its beta stage, but as hardware and software improve, as well as methods of applying such technologies, we will find ourselves navigating environments akin to the book and movie Ready Player One. An environment where our voice carries into the digital world, a place where we can feel our digital environment, and where the very lines of our reality become blurred.
To take full advantage of this reality-bending technology, American Crane & Equipment Corporation has teamed up with a leading provider of tailored AR and XR solutions for business innovation. Co-CEOs Dr. DP Prakash and Lisa Sibilia created the company to help accelerate humanity to its full potential and change how we live, learn, and work; constantly pushing innovation. ACECO has the pleasure of working closely with the team, on-site in our Innovation Lab. With their guidance and expertise, we are co-creating custom innovations, such as an loT AI AR solution to support SMBs predicting equipment failure before it happens at 10x lower complexity. Together we are designing comprehensive solutions to redefine the industry through the meaningful use of emerging technology. I had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa to better grasp what their company does, and see what the future holds for this newly immerging technology:
Q: Can you describe more about your company and what your mission is moving forward?
Our company is an innovation company that simplifies complexities by enabling and building custom emerging technology solutions to support organizations around the world to actualize their full potential. We bridge enterprise and education to change lives.
Q: What digital reality applications are best suited for manufacturing, and why?
Great question. Hybrid technology solutions that continuously evolve and allow diverse stakeholders to be more efficient, productive, fulfilled, and inspired. A suite of digital tools, such as, virtual reality, augmented reality, assisted reality, and mixed reality alongside reality-driven experiences represent the highest value.
Q: Which form of digital reality do you think is most accessible right now?
I would argue none. Technology takes time to learn and drive meaningful impact on an organization. It requires going the extra mile and finding trusted partners to see around the corner and generate recurring business results.
Q: What are your dreams for the future of this technology?
I am one to dream BIG! Imagine a world where innovation accessibility and training meet you where you are. Technology becomes a bridge that allows organizational roles to be reimagined. The dream is to be equipped with cross-field intelligence at a speed that in the past took a lifetime and is now at our fingertips.
As you see, this technology is not just suited for sci-fi dreamers and tech junkies; it can enhance our waking world, allowing innovative solutions to travel faster across the digital (and physical) landscape, and shortening the bridge to accessibility. In manufacturing, it has the power to make our processes and cranes more intuitive, while feeding analytics back to the IoT (internet of things), sharing knowledge with each person and machine connected to it. Operational efficiency will increase, wasting no time with simulated hands-on experience, making upskilling and training a breeze. We’ll even be able to compare product variations in real-time, in different simulated environments (yes, a crane stress test, minus the stress on the mind). Quality assurance will never be overlooked when a service member will be able to check on a crane in real-time, without being on location.
For a moment, let’s imagine a scenario: An off-site service specialist gets a call; a crane that he helped to install keeps skewing as it travels along the runway. He throws on his VR and is transported to a live view of the crane. After reading through the live data, he finds that only one of its bridge motors is running. After recognizing the issue, he knows what needs to be done, so he walks the on-site technician through the process of fixing it—highlighting parts and sharing images of the proper tools to use—that superimposed on the crane with the help of MR glasses that the on-site technician is wearing. The future sure does look bright with the many rising forms of digital reality. No industry will remain untouched, and the possibilities are endless.
The only question is, how will you leverage the digital realm to enhance the productivity of your business?
Beyond all the news segments and online articles, I knew the economy was bad when my beloved Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips, broke four dollars. Inflation! What a slap in the face, everywhere from the gas pump to the bread isle—prices keep getting higher. The Pandemic waned, but the shelves still aren’t as full as they used to be (I even saw baby formula in a locked cabinet yesterday) and that’s because the problem runs deep. How deep you may ask? I think it’s fair to say that it has grown to affect the global economy, and by it, I mean the supply chain. Though, before we dig deeper into how we got here, what ACECO is doing to keep pace, and maybe brainstorm some ideas to reach a global solution (why not dream big?). Let’s breathe clarity into the term Supply Chain.
A supply chain, no matter the industry, is a nexus of resources, individuals, organizations, and varying technologies, which are utilized in a cyclical manner, to form consumable products out of raw materials. This includes the delivery of source materials to the manufacturers and the navigation/cooperation of distribution channels that brings products to the retailers and eventual customers. More recently, the retail middleman has been cut out, thanks to the convenience of online shopping, yet we have come to realize that convenience came with some unwanted baggage.
Circa May 2020, in comes the pandemic. An unprecedented time that undoubtedly forced an economic slowdown across the globe. Corporations laid people off, just to make ends meet, causing production to slow or stop completely. Though people didn’t stop buying (durable goods such as office furniture, kitchen supplies, and outdoor activities), thanks to the financial boost of stimulus checks and the lockdown. A lot of these durable goods required lumber, steel, and other sturdy materials, from manufacturers who thought that the demand would be lower. But people’s urge for DIY projects and resort-like backyards pushed and pulled the need for such materials. And the docks, beyond backed up, had a lack of employees to process the goods and not enough truck drivers to deliver them—we all remember the ship traffic at LA’s port. This all resulted in an overwhelmed and understaffed supply chain, creating room for prices of everything to inflate. The price of steel, a material ACECO works with every day, rose a staggering 215% during the height of the pandemic, according to an article by Fortune.com. Around this time last year, the benchmark stock price for hot-rolled steel climbed to $1,825. Prior to the pandemic, it traded in the $500 to $800 range. Today, the price hangs around $849.
Now, citizens and companies are left wondering how to pick up the pieces–but let’s dial it back. To better our environment we must first better ourselves, and at ACECO we are doing everything in our power to make sure our customers don’t feel any pressure. To better understand how ACECO is dealing with the degraded supply chain, I had the pleasure to speak with our purchasing manager, Rebecca Hine.
Q: How long have you been the Purchasing Manager at ACECO?
A: I have been employed at ACECO for 7 years
Q: How would you describe ACECO’s supply chain model and why it works best for our company?
A: Our current system JobScope allows engineering to enter the BOM and allocates the parts that need to be ordered or issued from stock at our two (2) locations.
The system is effective in covering the production needs of material, parts, etc. The system captures the costs of the purchase orders and gathers the totals from accounting,who apply costs to the jobs.
Q: What struggles has ACECO encountered, and which of them ranks highest on our list to solve?
A: We have encountered longer lead times, more challenges with the locating the parts, challenges with the logistics and delays at the port for unloading overseas shipments.
Q: What precautions are we implementing to deal with the supply chain issues?
A: Working closely with engineering when needed to substitute parts to meet ship dates. Shopping around for electrical items due to suppliers not having inventory. Increasing inventory levels where needed to alleviate future delays.
Q: What is American Crane doing to be proactive regarding the strength of our supply chain?
A: Adding additional suppliers, increase inventory, work to maintain relationships with new and existing vendors. Work with engineering to substitute parts if required to meet customer delivery dates. Work with sales, engineering, and procurement during the design process.
One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that our affinity for convenience got the best of us. Sure, unprecedented times shook up the entire system, but the constant guarantee of next-day shipping along with the ease of online shopping put a strain on an already rusty supply chain. The comfort of receiving a product at your door after grazing a finger across a screen, made us forget that we live in a global economy— ACECO pride itself in saying ‘Build in the USA’ and we strive to source materials and parts locally and mostly from the USA—but that’s not a reality for most companies in the US. Regardless, the chain needs to be mended and that starts with transparency—b2b and from business to customer. We all have deadlines to meet and the more we’re able to flex, the less the system will be strained. Beyond that, companies need to look into shortening their cycle, somewhere along the line prices will change, but a locally sourced product that doesn’t require freight could drastically decrease your lead time. Finally, technology. As AI becomes more synonymous in our everyday lives, transparency and security will seem hard to avoid. And as AI weaves its way through every industry, smarter systems and software will be created that can manage our systems more efficiently than we can today. Daunting? Of course, but I’m willing to work with anyone and anything to lower the price of those kettle-cooked chips.
On the anniversary of our nation’s independence, we are reminded of the framework that makes our nation stand out among the many great nations of the world, particularly the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Even though we have waivered as a nation throughout the years, the heroes of this land fight to make sure that freedom is felt from sea to shining sea. Therefore, we have been a beacon to the world, “This is where you can make a name for yourself, the land of opportunity where anything is possible,” Lady Liberty says as she gazes upon glistening skyscrapers that stand as testaments to the heights one can reach if they dream big.
Oddvar Norheim was one of those dreamers, born on a small island off the coast of Bergen Norway called Lygra. After receiving his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, from Bergan Technical College, in Norway, and serving in the Norwegian NATO army, Oddvar sought to travel to the United States where he built our company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation. He created several patents, such as SafLift™ (a process used to transport nuclear fuel). He fostered a friendly and collaborative environment within his company, where no idea was out of the question and the impossible seemed possible; and in 2010, he visited the White House, to discuss trade policy alongside government officials and President Obama.
When Oddvar became a U.S. citizen, on May 6, 1987, he was given the opportunity to present a speech to the recipients about why he decided to become an American citizen:
“I believe that America is the country that gives the most opportunities to its people and that the American dream is still achievable. The traditional spirit of the U.S. society that describes the nation as a democratic land of opportunity in which social, political, economic, and religious freedoms prevail—is alive and well; one man is as good as another and any man can achieve his dreams, if only he will. America took on a difficult task after the second world war when it became the nation to protect the freedoms of the world. Of course, this has given many countries and individuals the opportunity to blame America for everything that is wrong, but the strength and determination of this society continues the fight to achieve peace and freedom—showing the kind of people this country is made up of and the strength of our Constitution and the values we so strongly believe in. The willingness of this country to defend freedom around the world is something we all should be proud of. The beauty of this country is no better described then through the words of Samuel A. Ward when he wrote “America the Beautiful” – spacious skies, majestic mountains, and amber waves of grain. America surely does have it all. And we cannot forget the bountiful American highways and king size American cars. It’s hard to find words to express my feelings today as I become part of this grand society, and there is not one factor that made me decide to become a U.S. citizen, but all the things mentioned above and more.”
Oddvar saw hope in the aspects of America we often take for granted, and in that hope, he achieved his dreams and was able to forge a legacy grand enough to influence the lives of many and present a future for his kin, before passing in October of 2021. Oddvar saw and came to represent the true essence of what it means to be an American; the idea that no matter where you are from, your beliefs, or background—if you are willing to work hard and out of love, not hate, you can elevate your life and the lives of those around you. That’s why here at ACECO we honor Oddvar’s GRIT and determination every day, committing to foster the growth, empowerment, and safety of the people we work with and the customers that hire us.
At ACECO we value our people and everything they have to contribute; so, on this 4th of July, we ask that you remember to value the people of this nation, because without our differences and melting pot of ideas…America would not be the great nation it is today.
Picture this: You’ve just arrived at work. You punch your timecard, put your lunch in the fridge and sip down a coffee that properly scorches your tongue. Next, you pass through an air-locked door. Inside, co-workers are shuffling about as they scramble to wash up and put on their gear; garments such as beard covers, coveralls, face masks, lab coats, gloves, hairnets, and shoe covers. With attire fit for a sci-fi drama, you enter through the second door; the air lock hisses like a spaceship, as you walk through. Welcome, you have just entered a manufacturing clean room. Vital industries such as Medical, Pharmaceutical, Aerospace, Food and beverage, and semiconductor utilize clean room facilities to bring us the crucial products and safety, we sometimes take for granted. So, what classifies a clean room and what does ACECO provide to clients who require them? Let’s find out!
Sensitive products ranging from hotdogs to semiconductors to NASA satellites and Advil, make use of cleanroom manufacturing. A cleanroom is any contained space made to minimize airborne particulates and control other environmental specifications such as pressure, humidity, and temperature. A key component of all clean rooms are High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) and Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters; all air that enters a cleanroom environment passes through one of these filters. In conjunction with the filters, two main airflow principles are employed: laminar and unidirectional. According to Thomasnet.com, a leading voice in manufacturing, Laminar air flow refers to air that flows in a straight, unimpeded path. Unidirectional flow is maintained in cleanrooms through the use of laminar airflow hoods that direct air jets downward in a straight path, as well as cleanroom architecture that ensures turbulence is lessened. Depending on the product and specifications of your cleanroom (based on the square footage and allowed numbers of particles in the room,) you will receive a classification; there are both federal and international standards.
Now that we know what clean rooms are, what industries use them, and a general understanding of how they work, let’s discuss how ACECO provides cranes for these meticulous manufacturers. Our cleanroom hoists and cranes are engineered to lift and lower materials and goods safely and efficiently without introducing contaminants into the space. We manufacture them in various designs and configurations to suit different situations, such as satellite and semiconductor manufacturing operations. The clean room hoists are available in electric chain wire rope models, and synthetic rope models, while clean room cranes are available in overhead or jib models. Our standard clean room hoist and crane offerings are available with load capacities to suit the application. Additionally, we can design, engineer, and fabricate custom material handling or overhead lifting solutions to meet highly specific or unique customer requirements. We also offer inspection, testing, repair, rebuilding, and upgrading services.
So next time you turn on a piece of technology, bite into a sandwich, or take some medicine, you can appreciate the careful process that goes into manufacturing such an item.
Manufacturing is akin to an orchestra of people artfully joining together to create a one-of-a-kind experience—sales, engineering, fabricating, purchasing, accounting, and information technology harmonize with other departments—this teamwork then crescendos into an exciting environment, yielding magnificent products that can be shared with our customers. And I am proud to be leading this ensemble, with my sister Stephanie beside me.
I’ve been inspired to encourage others to see the value of this industry. I like to think of American Crane as a garden. And while I nurture our garden, our future, it also nurtures me.
One of the major milestones in my life was the decision to work for my father. At the time, I wondered “How fun could manufacturing be?” It’s been more than 18 years since I made one of the best decisions of my life. Through my work with American Crane and Equipment Corporation, I found my passion for manufacturing. If it hadn’t been for my father, I may not have considered a career in manufacturing. I would have missed out on the most rewarding job I have ever had.
More importantly, too often, women are not aware of the opportunities available in manufacturing. But there is a significant overlap between what women want in careers and the attributes of careers in manufacturing today. To those wanting to enter our field, join us! There is exciting work to be done and a path that still needs paving for the future generations of women.
Being a certified WBE/WOSB enables our customers in government entities and private industry to formally acknowledge their partnership with American Crane, not only as a leading supplier of innovative overhead handling solutions but also as an indicator of their increased commitment to engaging a diverse supplier base.
Both certifications verify that American Crane is at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or women. This means one or more women must have unrestricted control of the business, a demonstrated management of day-to-day operations, and a proportionate investment of capital or expertise.