Wichita streamlines production processes

Costs reduced by over 400% with Toshiba/SOLO label solution from ERS

Wichita designs and manufactures a range of pneumatic and hydraulic clutches, brakes, tension control systems and ancillary equipment for industrial, mining and marine applications. Its products range from off-the-shelf to bespoke design, from paper manufacture to mining to metal-forming. Wichita is accredited to ISO9001 quality standards, approved by the world's Ship Classification Societies, and uses Lean Manufacturing techniques to improve its quality, delivery and cost.

Its range of brakes and clutches require a variety of aluminium labels to record unique identification information about the products.  Traditionally labels were produced manually using a labour intensive method of printing labels on a laser jet printer, cutting to size and fitting into the window of a pre-printed aluminium label, prior to attachment to the required part.  As part of the production process, this procedure was time consuming, costly and often resulted in human error.  

Looking to improve this system, Lee Moss, Maintenance Manager, proposed areas where processes could be streamlined and time/cost savings could be made.  Having visited Wichitas sister company Matrix in Scotland, Lee saw the benefits of using Toshiba printers for sequential labelling of fork-lift trucks, and looked at current manual parts labelling and how this type of technology could be integrated. Lee contacted Toshiba, who recommended local supplier ERS to provide the necessary consultation, implementation and support.

ERS installed a Toshiba B-SV4T desktop printer with Solo Software and bespoke labels designed for Wichitas specific requirements. Lee Moss commented about the immediate benefits, I was expecting teething problems moving from a manual to an automated process, but ERS had listened to my needs and tailored the solution to the exact requirements of the application.  The installation was seamless and the benefits immediate, with a significant improvement to the quality of the labels we were producing.  Label unit costs were instantly reduced from 1.50 to 7p and man hours from 1 hour to 2 minutes.  In addition user error was dramatically reduced with assemblers no longer mixing up jobs and attaching the wrong labels to the wrong products.

For this application Wichita currently produce in excess of 5000 labels per year, a cost saving of over 5000 per year, even taking into consideration the cost of the printer*.  The compact, robust B-SV4T, whilst being extremely competitively priced, boasts superior performance, high build quality, incredible reliability and easy handling.  With a duty cycle of approximately 1000 labels per day, Lee Moss looked at other areas in the business where they could utilise the printer to improve existing labelling applications. 

Lee commented about the capabilities of the printer, We were so impressed with the quality of the Toshiba B-SV4T, and with the potential to increase the daily output, I looked at other areas of the business where we could utilise this technology. This has only been possible because the printer is so easy to use, the software gives you the freedom to tailor the labels to your exact requirements, with both variable and fixed data and ERS can provide us with bespoke labels designed specifically for the application.

From a request for one label for one application, Wichita is currently using the Toshiba/Solo solution for 27 different labels with 6 different types of media, with the potential to continue to improve processes and save time and money throughout the business.

Wichita has been using the printer for over a year and with legendary Toshiba reliability have not experienced any problems with the solution recommended by ERS. Lee commented about the relationship and plans for the future, We like to use local suppliers and ERS have not disappointed us, they strive constantly to find the right media for our specification and design bespoke labels to our exact requirements.  We evaluate all our suppliers to guarantee we are getting the best service and ERS consistently receive an A rating.  I would not hesitate to recommend ERS and the Toshiba/Solo solution to other businesses.

* Current RRP of the B-SV4T is 290


TOSHIBA TEC Europe (TERIS) manages product planning, marketing, sales, service support and distribution of point of sale systems, cash registers, scales, barcode printers, peripherals and software information systems throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As a total solution provider, TOSHIBA TEC Europe offers a complete package from consulting and system design to system installation, operation and maintenance.

Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium TERIS has three divisions: the Retail division; the Auto ID division and the Services division.

TERIS is an independent operating company of Toshiba Corporation, the sixth largest electronics/electrical equipment company and the world's 72nd largest company in terms of sales. Ranked by Fortune magazine as the 7th Most Admired Electronics Company in the World, Toshiba Corporation is a world leader in high technology products with more than 300 major subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. Fiscal year revenue in 2005 was approximately $54.5 billion.

About ERS

Based in the UK, ERS is a leading distributor of data capture, information control and auto ID technologies. Formed in 1988, ERS have built close relationships with some of the industries key manufacturers and are specialists in the latest barcode, magnetic stripe and smart card markets. With a dedicated and experienced team, ERS can provide clients with in-depth technical and practical knowledge of all the products available, offering the most cost effective working solutions to meet their requirements. ERS can supply data capture solutions from a single scanner or terminal, to a completely fully integrated and networked system.

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