• How Potholes Form in Cold and in Hot (Graphics)

    by Linda Kleineberg | Mar 27, 2014

    Go comment!
  • Pothole Facts

    by Linda Kleineberg | Mar 12, 2014

    Want to know why we're doing this?  Here are some key points:

    62 dollars for throw and go 20 dollars for compacted patch

    Poor Roads cost billions

    Annual costs of potholes to drivers

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  • Salt Supplies Are Dangerously Low

    by Linda Kleineberg | Feb 18, 2014

    An extremely active winter storm season has created widespread road salt supply problems. VIBCO has a product that can provide more efficient use of precious supplies.

    Cities and states are scrambling to arrange for deliveries in anticipation of more winter weather and everybody is looking for ways to stretch current supplies.  LISTEN TO THIS STORY FROM NPR RADIO ON THE SALT SUPPLY PROBLEM  full story at http://www.wbur.org/npr/275899324/got-road-salt-cities-across-the-country-are-running-out-of-it

    VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators Provide More Efficient Use of Road Salt Supplies

    Our SandBuster™ 12 Volt and 24 Volt Spreader Hopper Vibrators are mounted to spreader hoppers to promote steady, predictable flow of the salt and sand mix.

    We have all vibrator sizes available for immediate shipment to help with this season's salt shortages. We have customer service agents standing by at  800-633-0032 to help refer DOT, Public Works, and Owner/Operators to a dealer who can help. If your local dealer is out of stock, due to high demand, tell them that VIBCO has units available for same-day shipping

    First-time SandBuster Vibrator users should plan to take advantage of VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit program so that we can show you exactly how and where to install the vibrator on your truck.

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  • Make No Mistake - VIBCO is Good for Beer, Ethanol, Electricity and Electroplate

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jan 08, 2014

    Quick Links

    Featured Application: Sell VIBCO Plating Tank Vibrators This Month
    Industry Focus: Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries
    Industry Focus: Power Plants
    "Talk the Talk" Lean Word: Poka Yoke

    Featured Application: VIBCO Plating Tank VibratorsVIBCO SPWT-80-CE in plating tank

    VIBCO SandBuster Vibrators

    Featured Product: VIBCO SandBuster Vibrators

    See how VIBCO SandBuster Spreader Hopper Vibrators keep your snow control customers safe and warm, make more efficient use of ice control materials and save money.

    Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries

    Power Plants

    Air Cannons on Chemical Hopper

    "Talk the Talk" Lean Manufacturing Word of the Week: Poka-Yoke

    Learn more about Poka-Yoke at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke

    Poka-yoke [poka yoke] is a Japanese term that means "mistake-proofing". A poka-yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur. The concept was formalized, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System.  It was originally described as baka-yoke, but as this means "fool-proofing" (or "idiot-proofing") the name was changed to the milder poka-yoke.

    More broadly, the term can refer to any behavior-shaping constraint designed into a process to prevent incorrect operation by the user. Similarly, a constraint that is part of the product (or service) design is considered Design for Manufacturability or Design for X

    An example of a modern Poka-Yoke application is when a driver must press on the brake pedal (a process step, therefore a poka-yoke)) prior to starting an automobile. The interlock serves to prevent unintended movement of the car. An additional poka-yoke would be the switch in the car's gear shift that requires the car to be in Park or Neutral before the car can be started. These serve as behavior-shaping constraints as the sequence of "car in park (or neutral)" and/or "Foot on brake" must be performed before the car is allowed to start. Over time, the driver's behavior is conformed with the requirements by repetition and habit.

    Learn about VIBCO's Lean Manufacturing Program and Leadership

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  • Congratulations 2013 VIBCO Team Award Winners

    by Linda Kleineberg | Dec 17, 2013
    2013 VIBCO Awards

    VIBCO Vibrators is a special company because we have talented, engaged, thoughtful and dedicated employees - all working toward our True North of Same Day, Next Day for our customers.

    Each year we take the opportunity to recognize a few individuals who exemplify our VIBCO Values, who lead by example, and who dedicate themselves to the service of our customers.

    Congatulations to the winners for 2013!

    Giovanni Luzzi

    for demonstrating Innovation and Continuous Improvement

    Tim Knapton       

    for commitment to Quality, Follow-Through, Responsibility and Dedication

    Jim Avizinis

    for working with Honesty, Passion, Respect and Communication

    John Ludwig

    for exemplifying all of the VIBCO Values on a consistent basis, encouraging others to embrace VIBCO Values, and leading by example with Innovation, Continuous Improvement, Honesty, Respect, Passion, Communication, Quality, Responsibility, Follow Through, and Dedication.

    Go comment!
  • VIBCO Xmas Carols are Back!

    by Linda Kleineberg | Dec 09, 2013

    Decorations are up, there is a chill in the air, and the first flakes of snow have fallen. That means it's VIBCO Christmas Carol time!

    Break out the egg nog, gather your coworkers around your desk, and take a few minutes to celebrate the holiday season... VIBCO style.

    And just so you know... the lyrics to all of these songs were written by the amazing, talented and very funny VIBCO Team during the 2011 VIBCO Christmas Party...  

    Listen Now!

     We're Shakin Up Your Concrete

     The VIBCO Team

     Let it Shake! Let it Shake! Let it Shake!

     It's VIBCO! It's VIBCO! It's VIBCO!

     Frosty the Millwright

      VIBCO Vibration Nation

    ©VIBCO Vibrators 2011
    All VIBCO Xmas Carol Lyrics written onsite by VIBCO Employees, Recorded by Ron Hayden, Warwick, RI  

    All rights reserved. 

  • How Chemical Manufacturers and Flour Mills Use VIBCO Vibrators

    by Linda Kleineberg | Nov 25, 2013

    Quick Links

    Featured Product: Sell VIBCO Railcar Vibrators This Month
    Industry Focus: Chemical and Allied Products
    Industry Focus: Flour Mills
    "Talk the Talk" Lean Word: Kanban

    VIBCO Railroad Car Shakers

    Featured Product: VIBCO Railroad Car Vibrators

    See how VIBCO Railcar Vibrators make unloading fast and safe.

    Chemical and Allied Products

    Air Cannons on Chemical Hopper

    Flour Mills

    "Talk the Talk" Lean Manufacturing Word of the Week: Kanban

    Learn more about Kanban at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban

    Kanban GraphicKanban (literally signboard or billboard) is a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time (JIT) production.[2] Kanban is a system to control the logistical chain from a production point of view, and is not an inventory control system. Kanban was developed by Taiichi Ohno, at Toyota, to find a system to improve and maintain a high level of production. Kanban is one method through which JIT is achieved.[3]

    Kanban became an effective tool in support of running a production system as a whole, and it proved to be an excellent way for promoting improvement. Problem areas were highlighted by reducing the number of kanban in circulation.

    Learn more about VIBCO's Lean Manufacturing Program and Leadership

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  • Improving Everyday at VIBCO

    by Linda Kleineberg | Nov 22, 2013

    Lean / Continuous Improvement Projects Underway at VIBCO

    Here are some photos of some very cool improvement projects underway at VIBCO Headquarters... The incredible VIBCO team keeps thinking, keeps trying, and keeps working to add value, remove waste and deliver to the pull of our customers.

    Suzy Achieves Her One-Piece-Flow Goal!

    Sue H. has been working toward her one-piece-flow assembly goal for VIBCO switch boxes for years - improving a little bit each day... it has been a true continuous improvement project. Congratulations to her on meeting this high goal. 

    Happy to Do It One Piece Flow

    Getting Visual on the Factory Floor

    (Gwendolyn Galsworth will be so delighted!)

    Keep Aisle Clear Lean Floor VIBCO Lean Floor Marking

    VIBCO Visual Floor Cardboard Crate VIBCO Visual Floor WIP GR-3200

    VIBCO Visual Floor Caution Weld Area VIBCO Visual Floor Barrel Truck Parking

    Whiteboard Training and Implementation Underway

    Management Whiteboard Training is one of the key elements of VIBCO's Encumbent Worker Training Grant from the Rhode Island Governor's Workforce Board. Tom Pesaturo of Exceeda Consulting is facilitated the training leading to management whiteboards in assembly.

    Assembly Management Whiteboards

  • What do Candy, Clay Refractories, Ice Control Trucks and Hoshin Kanri have in Common?

    by Edward Huff | Oct 29, 2013

    Quick Links

    Featured Product: Sell VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators This Month
    Industry Focus: Candy and Chewing Gum Manufacturers
    Industry Focus: Clay Refractories
    "Talk the Talk" Lean Word: Hoshin Kanri

    SandBuster Spreader Hopper Vibrators

    Featured Product: VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators

    See how VIBCO SandBuster Spreader Hopper Vibrators help keep Ice Control Operators safe and productive.

    Candy & Chewing Gum Manufacturing

    Clay Refractory Manufacturers

    "Talk the Talk" Lean Manufacturing Word of the Week: Hoshin Kanri

    Learn more about Hoshin Kanri at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoshin_Kanri

    Also called policy deploymenthoshin planning, or simply hoshin (as in "FY12 Hoshin"), it is a strategic planning/strategic management methodology based on a concept popularized in Japan in the late 1950s by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa: "Each person is the expert in his or her own job, and Japanese TQC [Total Quality Control] is designed to use the collective thinking power of all employees to make their organization the best in its field." This is the fundamental principle of hoshin kanri. In Professor Ishikawa's words in his book What Is Total Quality Control?: "Top managers and middle managers must be bold enough to delegate as much authority as possible. That is the way to establish respect for humanity as your management philosophy. It is a management system in which all employees participate, from the top down and from the bottom up, and humanity is fully respected." Adaptations of the concept have since been developed by many others, among them Dr. Yoji Akao, that use a Deming cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to create goals, choose control points (measurable milestones), and link daily control activities to company strategy.[2]

    The discipline of hoshin kanri is intended to help an organization:

    • Focus on a shared goal.
    • Communicate that goal to all leaders.
    • Involve all leaders in planning to achieve the goal.
    • Hold participants accountable for achieving their part of the plan.

    It assumes daily controls and performance measures are in place: "With hoshin kanri... the daily crush of events and quarterly bottom-line pressures do not take precedence over strategic plans; rather, these short-term activities are determined and managed by the plans themselves."[3]

    In Japanese, hoshin means "compass needle" or "direction". Kanri means "management" or "control".[4] The name suggests how hoshin planning aligns an organization toward accomplishing a single goal.

    Learn more about VIBCO's Lean Manufacturing Program and Leadership

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  • How to Select the Right Mounting Plate and Length of Channel Iron for Your Vibrator Installation

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jun 24, 2013
    Virtual Van Visit

    There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a mounting plate and channel iron combination for your vibrator installation. Refer to your vibrator model's Quick Reference Guide for complete installation information.

    1. Understand Your Installation and Application Requirements

    Vibrators are used on bins, hoppers, chutes, conveyors, dump trucks, screens, concrete forms, silos, feeders, etc. Be sure to examine your particular application for any obstacles in the target installation zone. VIBCO Technical Support is always available for a consultation - add a photo to your inquiry to receive our most accurate recommendation with the VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit.

    2. Use the Guide Below to Determine The Right Channel Length

    The two most critical factors in your selection will be the force output of the vibrator and the thickness of the structure (i.e. bin wall, chute wall, dump bed construction, etc.). To use the guide below 1) Determine your score Factor A based on the force output of your vibrator (refer to our in-depth product pages for model-specific information on force output); 2) Determine your score for Factor B based on the thickness of the wall; and 3) Add Factor A + Factor B to determine your recommended length of channel iron.

    Selection Guide for VIBCO Vibrator mounting plate and channel iron

    3. Select the Correct Mounting Plate Thickness and Channel Width

    Use the guide below to select the correct mounting plate thickness and channel width based on the force output of your vibrator. Refer to our in-depth product pages for model-specific information on force output.

    Recommended Plate Thickness and Channel Length for Vibrator

    The above are general guides are provided for your reference. For help with your specific vibrator installation, please contact VIBCO Technical Support.

    Go comment!
  • Dutch Docs Visit VIBCO to see Lean Culture

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jun 06, 2013
    Dutch visitors speak with VIBCO reception

    Forty health care professionals from the Netherlands visited VIBCO Vibrators on Tuesday, June 5 to study how Lean Manufacturing and VIBCO's Lean Organizational Culture operates at VIBCO. The visit was sponsored by ACHMEA , the largest insurance company in the Netherlands.

    Karl Wadensten with Dutch visitors

    Teams from nine Netherlands health care organizations, consisting of senior physicians, nursing and administrative leaders, toured VIBCO's end-to-end lean operation.

    Governor Chafee enjoys his visit at VIBCO

    The Dutch participants engaged with VIBCO employees in reception, marketing, sales and technical support, production planning, production assembly, machining, and shipping. Through those interactions, the healthcare professionals were able to make connections between manufacturing and healthcare processes including after-care, leadership, employee engagement, innovation, and material and information flow.

    The visit was highlighted by a visit by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and a full assembly of VIBCO employees. The Governor treated the group to a short history lesson about Rhode Island's beginnings as a "lively experiment". 

    The Governor then spoke about how Rhode Island is focusing on "Meds and Eds" as part of the state's growth strategy. Governor Chafee shared his vision to build upon Rhode Island's strengths - our exceptional colleges, universities, and hospitals.

    Immediately following Governor Chafee's remarks, the Dutch visitors, VIBCO staff and the governor had some informal conversations, and engaged in some additional "show-and-tell" visits around the factory.  

    Here are some of the comments shared by the teams from the Netherlands following the tour:

    While visiting the U.S., the Netherlands teams will also attend the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Orlando, FL, and visit other organizations including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Accurounds.

    The trip is organized by the Dutch “Lean in Healthcare” Network, a non-profit foundation.

    Go comment!
  • Top 5 Things to Know About External Concrete Vibrators

    by Linda Kleineberg | May 31, 2013

    Concrete must be consolidated properly to achieve a high-quality end product - strength, durability, uniformity, and beauty are all affected by the consolidation process. Vibration is the most common method used to consolidate concrete. (Guide for Consolidation of Concrete, ACI-309R-96, Section 3.2)

    Vibration consists of subjecting freshly placed concrete to rapid vibratory impulses which liquefy the mortar and drastically reduce the internal friction between aggregate particles. While in this condition, concrete settles under the action of gravity (sometimes aided by other forces). When vibration is discontinued, friction is reestablished. (ACI-309-R-96, Section 4)

    Concrete workers - Contractors, Precasters, Concrete Countertop Artisans, Ornamental Concrete Artisans, etc. - call VIBCO for assistance with the selection and placement/lay-out of their external concrete vibrators. During VIBCO's 50 years in business, we've had the opportunity to see thousands of concrete projects.  See VIBCO Concrete Vibrator Application Stories Now

    5 Things to Know About External Concrete Vibrators

    1. The position and layout of external concrete vibrators is critical. External concrete vibrators have radii of influence that is a hemisphere extending out from the vibrator location. You should plan your vibrator placement accordingly and consult with a VIBCO Vibrators concrete expert. 

    Factors to Consider When Mounting External Concrete Vibrators

    2. Deciding how you will mount your vibrators is an important first step in creating your vibration plan. There are several important factors to consider when choosing whether to use portable mounts or permanently mount your external concrete vibrators including vibration transfer, maintenance, labor, versatility, cost, and product life. Read VIBCO's  Concrete Vibrators Handbook and Catalog for more detailed information.

    3. Proper vibration of fresh concrete is the best way to prevent cold joints, bugholes, and honeycombing. Proper external vibration of concrete helps to mitigate these common defects. When using external concrete vibrators, it is important to rest the concrete forms on wood beams or rubber mats to prevent the form from vibrating against the floor and surrounding forms. It is equally important to "stiffen up" or reinforce forms in order to provide uniform vibration transfer and prevent leaks. 

    4. External concrete vibrators can enhance predictability and repeatability in your quality. There are many variables that contribute to concrete quality. One key variable can be the skill and craftsmanship of an internal vibrator operator(s). Many European countries require a vibrator operator to complete a 10-year apprenticeship and be licensed, whereas in the United States, no license or formal training is required. ("Internal or External Vibration", Concrete Construction) The variability in technique, equipment, skill, and attention of an internal vibrator operator can have a dramatic impact on finish quality. Using external vibrators provides a known variable that can be fine-tuned and adjusted in predictable, repeatable ways.

    5. Best practice is to plan ahead for your external vibration needs and to have spares on hand. Good planning will make your entire concrete operation run more smoothly - this includes the use of external concrete vibrators. Pre-installing brackets, having a clear pattern for placement and movement of portable vibrators, ensuring adequate air supply for pneumatic vibrators, tightening/reinforcing formwork if necessary, and having an organized, ready work-site will help to ensure a great finished product. Repairing or redoing concrete because of defects and poor quality is a time-consuming and expensive process. Planning ahead and having a solid understanding of vibration technique can help to eliminate the costs associated with defects.

    Contact VIBCO today for assistance with external concrete vibrators. 

    Go comment!
  • VIBCO Stickers Show Your Pride

    by Linda Kleineberg | May 29, 2013

    Show Your VIBCO Pride with Hard Hat Stickers!

    hardhat stickers

    Get them here!

    It's easy to spot a VIBCO fan... just look for the Hard Hat Sticker!

    Why do our fans love us? Because VIBCO isn't just any manufacturing company. We are fiercely proud of our Made in USA products and we are world-renowned for our approach to organizational culture and Lean Manufacturing.

    We are actively helping to build a better future through our efforts to share the core principles of Lean - Continuous Improvement and Respect for People.

    Learn More About VIBCO

    We recently got an email from one of our neighbors. While surfing through Yahoo! headlines, he stumbled across this incredible photo. It was taken while the spire of the World Trade Center was floating down the Hudson on it's way home

    VIBCO and the World Trade Center

    A truck driver in Connecticut sent us this "Big Bertha Bumper" photo...


    Dakota in Colorado wrote: 

    "Good Morning, I am writing  because the stickers that you guys sent with our last order have caused quite a stir around the office. Shannon only received 3 and to be honest isn't willing to play nice and share with the other staff members. 
    I'm contacting you this morning to see if there is any way you guys could send us some extra stickers. 
    Thanks for taking time out of your day for this silly request even if you only had to read it.
    I hope that you have/had a terrific holiday weekend. Thanks again"

    AND we got a fun call this morning from Leroy in Georgia requesting 14 more sets of stickers... one for each guy in his crew.

    Want some VIBCO Stickers for yourself? Request them here

    Go comment!
  • Is Rhode Island at the Tipping Point for Lean?

    by Linda Kleineberg | May 21, 2013

    Process Improvement.
    Regulatory Reform.
    Workforce Development.
    Factory Tours.
    Government / Private Sector Collaboration and Sharing.

    These were the themes at the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Manufacturer's Association (RIMA). Looking around the room, I was struck by the number of attendees that have "Come to the GEMBA" at VIBCO Headquarters. To date, we've toured more than 6,000 people through our plant. They come to VIBCO to learn about Lean, Operational Excellence, and Organizational Culture; to gain inspiration to change and improve their own organizations; and to see the potential of an engaged workforce. Visitors have included private and public sector employees; manufacturing and service sectors, union and non-union, government officials and news media. 

    "The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshhold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." - Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    Now Available in the VIBCO Bookstore

    Is that what is happening in Rhode Island right now?  Have we finally reached the threshold? Has "Vibration Nation" thinking Tipped?

    • Bob Nangle, CEO of RIMA, spoke about the strength of the Rhode Island Manufacturing Community. It is cleaner, faster, more innovative, and more responsive today than ever before.
    • Deborah Gist, Education Commissioner, spokeDeboarah Gist about an in-progress initiative to tour manufacturing facilities and to collaborate with the manufacturing sector to ensure our young people are ready to work in Rhode Island industries upon graduation. Show Support for Commissioner Gist at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 23 at 5:30pm.
    • Bill McCourt recognized the efforts at the Department of Environmental Management to implement Lean - those efforts have long been championed by Terry Gray. They are gaining great support and momentum under the leadership of Janet Coit, with the help of Tom Pesaturo of Exceeda Consulting.
    • Governor Lincoln Chafee highlighted Regulatory Reform and his challenge to government departments to really listen to the Voice of the Customer

    It's gratifying to hear words, hopes, and ideals that we hold so dear become the framework for a conversation on how to create a new future for Rhode Island. We are proud to be part of the solution.

    Go comment!
  • We're Humbled... and Proud

    by Linda Kleineberg | May 16, 2013

    Members of the Providence, RI Chapter of APICS (The Association for Operations Management)  toured the VIBCO Factory on April 4, 2013. They spent about 3 hours touring the factory - talking to line employees, observing operations, and asking a lot of questions.

    APICS Providence Chapter Visits VIBCO

    facebook See a Photo Album from the Visit on Facebook

    The following is a first-hand account of the tour from Ray Krause - a Six Sigma Blackbelt and APICS Member. Our thanks to Ray for sharing his incredibly compelling, thoughtful and honest impressions from his visit to the VIBCO Vibration Nation...

    Trip Report - VIBCO Tour – Richmond, RI
     April 4th, 2013

    First Impressions can be deceiving….

    At the risk of offending 2/3 of my audience, some will read this report, some will read a paragraph or two and some will discard it immediately. Do so at your own peril. The place was a gold mine for belts or non-belts interested in lean technology and company transformation.

    I arrived at VIBCO to find a small (from our perspective) 50,000 sq. ft. factory nestled behind a rock quarry, and met a couple of friendly receptionists who handed us badges. The tour we were invited to had about 45 people with half the contingent Johnson & Wales students and the remainder various engineers, managers, and lean “types” who wanted to tour the facility. The walls were full of paintings, cartoons and marketing history of the nearly 50 year old company. This gave me the first impression of a “touchy – feely” environment. That would change.

    APICS Providence Visits VIBCO

    Initially all of us were staged in the cafeteria where a brief overview of VIBCO was given alongwith some of their lean & continuous improvement history. They pride themselves as “Made in the USA” and their mantra is “Same Day, Next Day, Quality, Throughput, Innovation”. The one thing to note about the cafeteria is that it obviously doubles as a main conference room for team meetings and the walls were lined with personality profiles, mission statements, meeting minutes (and the kitchen sink, it was busy!).

    Just an FYI on their product line, VIBCO Inc. manufactures vibrating equipment for construction, trucking and various equipment that requires shaking to move or transport. They mentioned breakfast corn flakes as an example and said it may get vibrated something like 60 times between the field and your kitchen. They did say vibrators are mandatory for large concrete pouring to help the curing process and to alleviate air bubbles to improve strength.

    Being one of their larger tours, we were then divided into three groups and our tour proceeded to the shipping area to see the end of the process supply chain (begin with the end in mind?). We saw a main terminal station and a small conveyor belt with various sized boxes awaiting shipment but nothing out of the ordinary (at first glance). The first thing shown was the box storage area and their Kanban system. A large stack of flat boxes were on production shelving and about 1/3 of the way down the stack were these “flags” which were laminated cards with bar codes to reorder. Basically when the supply gets low enough to release the flag the operator walks to a bar code reader, scans the code and the order for new boxes is automatically placed. Quantities and consolidation had all been done in a previous Kaizan event along with a decision to have a preferred supplier brand the boxes with “VIBCO” logos and markings on virtually all of them. No standard brown boxes existed. All were white and red and the tour guide said “in the event of a lost box” that UPS could find a VIBCO box much easier by sight.

     VIBCO Boxes

    She also introduced us to the lead shipping clerk who showed the visual aids they implemented to ease the burden of determining what to ship and when. A color chart was on the wall with colors representing days of the week. Monday = Red, Tuesday = Yellow, Wednesday = Brown etc. With their same day, next day philosophy they needed to readily see evidence of the workflow. Being Thursday was “Blue” day most of the boxes lined up for shipping had the information printed on blue paperwork that was right with each package. The clerk then explained that the goal was not to see day to day workflow but rather the exclusions or “out of the ordinary” shipments. Purple papers were used to represent either Friday shipments or Hot Priority jobs. At that point you could virtually step back and see at a glance exactly what was prepared and when it needed to go. I did not get photos but it was simple and it worked well.

    The next part of the tour was the machining area. We were given safety glasses and proceeded to the back of the factory where a series of Chiron (similar to Mazak) CNC machines were there along with various manual presses and Bridgeport machines. The guide asked if anyone had heard of SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) and only a couple of hands were raised so the technician explained the process of going from 2 ½ hours of setup time to 8 ½ minutes. It not only required tooling right next to the machine but was also using computer links to automated setups, along with daily schedules pre-programmed. The one takeaway I gleaned was “Neat and Organized”. The description from five years ago to what I witnessed was hard to put into words. Almost all of the tooling was on carts which gave them the full ability to move and reset quickly. Nobody seemed rushed or “under the gun” and quite of lot of activity was witnessed during the 15 minutes we were there. This was also the part of the tour they mentioned the “One Schedule” and what it represented. Master schedules of all orders were sent electronically but each cell would receive their “One Schedule” of items only for that day. They didn’t go into a lot of detail, but from what I saw it was small, efficient, and very clear what the daily marching orders were.

    The third part of the tour was the main assembly areaWe were also introduced to Lucy, a 25 year employee who initially balked at continuous improvement, but was now one of their biggest advocates. Her work station was simple but extremely functional. Magnets were used to hold wrenches until needed and to hold a screwdriver in place they simply drilled a hole into the wooden bench and put the screwdriver in the hole! Bins were marked and labeled and it was another area where you had to really key in on just how efficient things flowed. “Low budget but Lean” was my takeaway here. Nobody said lean had to be expensive anyway.in assembly area. Various cells and pods were all centrally located in the factory and our guide brought us to a pair of CNC’s directly in front of the cells and said they were experimenting with spaghetti charts and moving the machining work into close proximity with assembly. One person questioned the work being on the CNC’s as different from the others in the machinists’ area, but the guide said the work was the same. It was truly a project in progress that would cut significant time off of transport and conveyance. 

    Leadership Rhode Island Visits VIBCO 2

    The fourth part of the tour took us back to the front desk and I was wondering if the tour was ending. It was at this time we were introduced to Karl Wadensten, the president of VIBCO. Instead of ending we were introduced to the head of sales and marketing which was the receptionist! She had three video screens wired to her computer and proceeded to show us an amazing type of “Data Mining” and customer service. VIBCO strongly believes in direct contact with their customers and not a switchboard approach. She (and a 2nd person) would field around 300 calls per day and properly get them the support they required for questions and answers. Karl said the one constraint from their perspective is the computer (speed) could not keep up with the operator. In the short time we were there she fielded multiple calls and used various internet sites to capture names, numbers and addresses into their ever expanding customer base (they mentioned 190K customers worldwide with a 16% growth rate annually).

    One of the final segments of the tour was meeting the various buyers and customer support personnel who help VIBCO achieve their sales approach. With a worldwide customer base and many unique applications this focused group would not only research solutions but would take customers actual photos and drawings and superimpose the various pieces of equipment “photoshop” style to explain how, when, and where to install. One story was told of a difficult application that was solved by ingenuity and it triggered orders for 100’s of units and a long term repeat customer.

    After that the teams rejoined in the cafeteria for a final Q&A. In a surprising move Karl actually asked for feedback and comments from every single person. Their “twin pillars” (as he put it) were “respect for people” and “continuous improvement”. It was after the Q&A that he mentioned over 6000 people had toured the facility in the past three years and they had submitted feedback from all of them.

    After the tour I asked Karl about Takt times and throughput and where the information was (how are priorities and bottlenecks figured out?). He pointed me to another conference room and told me to walk inside. What I saw on the inside was basically a “war room” of takt time charts, product structure and resource availability. Many histograms and other assorted tidbits but it was enough to see the “One Schedule” approach in progress. Control Central.

    To summarize: A small factory, 70 people, single shift, all interacting and marching forward to True North: Same Day - Next Day, Quality, Throughput, Innovation and 100% Employee Engagement. It was obvious they live this mantra and used it extensively. Some may say it’s still too touchy-feely. I get the impression that VIBCO is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Two links:

    1) VIBCO’s home page. Good interactive site. Also a link to Karl’s talk show “Lean Nation”

    2) The book they use to do their employee profiles. Every employees profile is printed and visible throughout the factory.


  • Electric Vibrator Performance - 4 Things to Check

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 23, 2013

    An Electric vibrator is an engineered solution. It must be installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions to get maximum benefits and longest product life. 

    Improve Your Electric Vibrator Performance Today!

    If you have problems with the performance and operation of your electric vibrators, it's usually due to an easily fixable problem with the mount or installation. Please refer to our online manuals for complete instructions and best practices for VIBCO electric vibrators. 

    We can help you fix any of these electric vibrator issues...

    • Vibrator draws high amps and "kicks" the breaker
    • Vibrator "burns out" after a short time in operation
    • Performance or useful life of a replacement vibrator is significantly lower than previously installed equipment
    • Vibrator makes a humming noise, but does not run properly

    Installation Error is the Most Common Root Cause

    Answer the following questions to get to the root cause of your electric vibrator performance problem. Still stumped? Use our Virtual Van Visit program to diagnose and solve your vibrator problems.

    Is your electric vibrator mounted directly to the bin or hopper rather than to a mounting plate and channel iron?

    Mounting directly to the bin or hopper can cause the bin or hopper to crack, can cause damage to your vibrators, and can cause a high amperage draw. It is critical for electric vibrators to be mounted to a plate and channel iron combination. 

    electric vibrator mounting

    Is your electric vibrator mounted to just a plate or just a channel iron?  

    It is extremely important to mount electric vibrators in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. Vibration, while an effective material flow aid, can be a destructive force if it is not applied correctly. Using a mounting plate or channel iron alone may not be sufficient to secure and isolate the vibratory force. For best results, use a channel iron and mounting plate together.

    Is your electric vibrator mounted in the wrong position or orientation?

    Electric units should be mounted perpendicular to the channel iron. The mounting plate should be checked for warping and, if necessary, shimmed to achieve a tight seal. Any looseness or "give" will prevent the vibratory force from being properly isolated and transferred. A sufficient length of channel iron should be used to distribute the force along the bin or hopper walls. Refer to our service manuals to determine the correct length of channel iron.

    Is your electric vibrator mount correctly welded, shimmed and/or bolted?

    Mounting channel should be stitch-welded to the hopper or bin, with no welds on the corners of the channel. Welding on the corners of the channel can lead to bin damage and unit failure. All bolts should be tightened down securely to prevent slippage and all shims should be positioned to keep the mounting plate flat.

    Remember - your electric vibrator mount is critical to maximizing the benefits of your equipment. Our technical support staff is happy to assist you to ensure that you get the most out of your VIBCO electric vibrators. Contact us 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at 800-633-0032 for assistance.

    1. Your electric vibrator is drawing high amps and kicking the breaker.
    2. Your electric vibrator is burning out after just a short time in operation.
    3. Performance or useful life of your new electric vibrator is significantly lower than a previous electric vibrator.
    4. Your electric vibrator fails shortly after being repaired.
    5. Your electric vibrator makes a humming noise, but does not run properly.
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  • All About Air Cannons

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 17, 2013

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Air Cannons... but were afraid to ask

    So you have material flow problems like sticking, clogging, ratholing and bridging. How do you know whether to use an air cannon or a vibrator? 

    Air cannons are most effective on low density material. Fine powders and fluffy, lightweight material like wood chips and saw dust easily absorb vibration - making air cannons a better choice. ."Stringy", irregular and faceted particles have a tendency to lock together. The blast of an air cannon separates locked particles and promotes flow.

    Heavily reinforced or rigid bins - including those made of concrete and heavy gauge steel - may not respond well to vibration and are prone to material flow problems. Coal and ore bins, grain silos and elevators, and large mineral hoppers are all ideal areas to use air cannons because they are not affected by the rigidity of the bin construction. 

    How Do Air Cannons Solve Material Flow Problems?

    An Air Cannon consists of a high pressure tank that stores compressed air (80-125 PSI), and a quick release piston valve. When the air cannon is activated (via a solenoid valve), it delivers a high-powered blast of air into the bin or silo. The blast breaks the friction between the particles and the bin walls, releasing and fluidizing the material.

    Play the short animation to the right to see the action of an air cannon.

    Types of Material Flow Problems Solved With Air Cannons

        Sticksides               Ratholing           
     Sticking to Sides  Bridging  Ratholing   Arching

    Learn more about air cannons at http://www.vibco.com/products/air-cannons or request assistance selecting the right air cannon for your needs now http://www.vibco.com/service-manuals/request-technical-support

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  • Reducing truck damage and improving driver safety are reasons to install VIBCO Big Bertha Vibrators

    by Linda Kleineberg | Apr 09, 2013

    VIBCO's Big Bertha Dumpbody Vibrator DC-3500 and XL Bertha DC-5000

    Improve Worker Safety

      VIBCO Big Bertha DC-3500
    • Reduce risk of truck rollover caused by top-heaviness caused by material hanging up in corners of lifted bed
    • Reduce risk of falls and injuries associated with manual clean outs
    • Reduce need for driver to exit the cab of the truck with easy push-button operation

    Reduce Truck Damage

    • Reduce wear and tear on tailgate, breaks, and hydraulics caused by tailgate slamming, bouncing, over-hoisting 
    • Reduce dents and damage caused by banging bed with back-hoe buckets, shovels, sledge hammers

    VIBCO's Big Bertha and XL Bertha dumpbody vibrators are sold as complete kits* including: mounting plate, wiring kit, cable, and mounting bolts. Also available in 24 Volt.

    For complete product information:

    Big Bertha DC-3500

    XL Bertha DC-5000

    *Mounting channel sold separately

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  • As We Share, We Learn

    by Linda Kleineberg | Mar 08, 2013

    There are few things as rewarding as sharing knowledge and inspiration. It's a hallmark of how we do business at VIBCO. Time and time again, we're asked about why we invest so much time in touring people through our company...

    "Doesn't it cost too much?"
    "Isn't it a huge burden?"
    "How can you afford to spend so much time with the tour groups?"

    Anyone who has visited our plant knows that the spirit and genius of the VIBCO employees is at the heart of our successful Lean culture. Improvements happen because our team members live and breathe improvement focused on our mission of Same Day, Next Day for our customers. By touring people through our facility, we give VIBCO team members the opportunity to gain extraordinary recognition for the work that they do and to reinforce that, as a company, we are 100% committed to continuous improvement.

    You just can't put a price on that. (Though a recent tour visitor said that their company would be "willing to write a very big check to get that kind of employee engagement".)

    Here's what's been going on at the VIBCO Vibration Nation

    American Dragon Filming Episode at VIBCO

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 2

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 3

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 4

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 5

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 6

    American Dragon Films at VIBCO 7

    Leadership Rhode Island Visits VIBCO

    Leadership Rhode Island Visits VIBCO 3

    Leadership Rhode Island Visits VIBCO 1

    Leadership Rhode Island Visits VIBCO 2

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  • We have weathered the storm.

    by Edward Huff | Feb 14, 2013

    We have weathered the Blizzard of 2013 and everything is back to fully operational. We had a few bumps along the road have met the challenge and still have happy customers.  Ultimately we had over 2 feet of snow and many members of the Vibration Nation went without power for several days. Fortunately most of us made it back to work for Monday morning and with the exception of the loss of our phones for a while it was back to work as usual. Today, Valentines Day, brought another couple of inches of snow which just made everything look pretty.