CreatedTuesday, July 10,2018 at 7:34 PM
Using technology and automation solutions to increase productivity and competitiveness.
In today’s commercial environment, especially manufacturing sectors, the sluggish economy has forced companies to seek out innovative ways to increase the productivity of their operations. Many manufacturers have been driven to seek out cutting-edge technology and automation solutions, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness. This strategy has helped manufacturing companies excel in the ever-changing industry and...
In today’s commercial environment, especially manufacturing sectors, the sluggish economy has forced companies to seek out innovative ways to increase the productivity of their operations. Many manufacturers have been driven to seek out cutting-edge technology and automation solutions, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness. This strategy has helped manufacturing companies excel in the ever-changing industry and position themselves for success in global markets.
One example is STELPRO, a Quebec based manufacturer of integrated heating solutions for the HVAC industry. Investing in cutting-edge technology has proven to be the best approach towards the company’s ultimate goal – becoming the number-one heating equipment company in North America. However, this investment in equipment and technology can come with a significant capital investment. Evaluating the return on investment in productivity and savings is a critical part of the decision-making process.
To help reach this ROI goal, STELPRO asked partners all along their supply chain to identify cost-saving opportunities so they could reinvest the savings into other areas of production. Ultimately, two companies teamed up to meet the challenge – Genik and Cadence Automation.
Conception Genik is a local Montreal company with a long tradition of industrialized machinery and automation integration. The company has built an outstanding reputation and is a respected member of its local community. Seeing an opportunity, Genik reached out to one of its key product and solution providers, Cadence Automation.
Cadence Automation is located in Quebec, Canada, and specializes in automation and industrial connectivity, providing solutions for services to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), integrators (companies that help manufacturers automate industrial equipment and systems), and end users. Cadence started working with Genik about 15 years ago, providing components for the company’s custom-built automation solutions for the automobile and transportation industries, aeronautics and high-tech fields, manufacturing industry, and building materials industry.
Genik asked Cadence to provide miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) for panels on all their devices. Requirements called for both branch circuit protection and supplementary circuit breakers, and the control design called for a complete customized integration. When selecting the breakers to use, cost would be a key driver so that they could meet the demanding ROI requirements of the overall project. Of course, these cost savings could not come at the expense of quality and reliability. Furthermore, Genik required a breaker lineup with a wide range of options that would meet the multiple applications proposed by their customer. Add it all up, and this was no easy task.
The Best-Kept Secret in the Circuit Breaker Industry
After comparing several partners, Cadence decided to offer NOARK’s B1N series of MCBs to their customers for use in a variety of different applications. “We use NOARK mini circuit breakers in a variety of Genik applications,” says Mike Palmieri, Key Accounts Representative at Cadence Automation, a NOARK distributor. “It’s an excellent product. It’s the best-kept secret in the circuit breaker industry.”
Palmieri says Cadence chose NOARK first and foremost for their high-quality products and warranties.
“NOARK has high-quality products and offers a five-year warranty on all circuit breakers, when competitors are offering only one or two years. That’s an advantage,” says Palmieri. “In the two years we’ve been with them, we haven’t had one NOARK circuit breaker returned and we haven’t gotten any complaints. When you see the product, the way it’s manufactured, you know they’re built to last. Their meantime between failures are very low.”
Philippe Caissy, project leader of controls at Genik, says he uses NOARK MCBs in all the control panels of the custom automation machines Genik develops for applications like water heater tank production lines. Genik started using the MCBs in 2016 and has purchased approximately
300 units so far.
“The product is good – we’ve had absolutely no issues with it,” Caissy says. “If something was wrong, we would have heard about it. But there’s been absolutely no bad feedback from anybody.”
For the STELPRO project, Genik used NOARK’s Ex9B1N series UL489 miniature circuit breakers on 240VAC as main branch circuit protection.
For supplementary circuit protection for all other component devices on both AC and 24VDC applications, NOARK B1N series MCBs were used
for low-voltage drives, power supplies, and other critical components of the design.
30%-50% cost savings
Marc-Andre Champagne, electrical product manager at Cadence says price was a key selling point. “Because of the streamlined manufacturing, we were able to offer a really low price point with NOARK components,” he says. “Genik compared us with competitors, and we were able to beat those competitors hands-down in price.”
Cadence can offer NOARK MCBs from 18 to 25 points less than competitors’ breakers, up to several dollars less per component. When companies buy hundreds – or more – of breakers at a time, that savings adds up.
“Our customers are saving substantial amounts of money,” says Marc-Andre Laurin, GM of Cadence Automation. “Some of them they were saving a
good 30%, sometimes even 50%, while getting the same performance as a competitive product at the better price.”
Genik experienced the same kinds of price differentials. “When Cadence approached us with this product, the main attraction was its price because it was much better than the usual product that we would buy. It’s approximately a third of the price we used to pay,” he says. “That’s a great advantage for us because it enables us to invest more money on other features of the production line and it enables us to make more profit,” says Caissy.
The Genik panels, provided by Cadence using NOARK parts, were able to help their HVAC client automate their production line from assembly to packaging. Thanks to the flexibility of the NOARK MCBs that Cadence provided, Genik was able to produce 240V main branch circuit and supplementary protection, AC and DC panels, AB drives, and other critical components that are custom designed to meet each specific need.
Customer Service and Product Availability
Palmieri says NOARK’s customer service is second to none, with prompt response times and readily available parts that can be quickly shipped to customers when they need it.
With wide range of panels being produced, Genik needed a variety of MCBs in stock and available on demand, including single-channel, one-pole, two-pole, and three-pole configurations. They also needed various amperages, from 10 to 15 Amps, and C and D trip curves.
“Our challenge was to keep each type of pole in stock and even figure out the trip curve,” says Champagne. “NOARK has a variety of circuit breakers along with other items that go in the panel, and that’s important so our customers don’t have a limited source of products.”
Palmieri adds that NOARK’s multiple locations and agents throughout North America, including LA and Vancouver, Canada, help Cadence promptly deliver products to their customers. Although the products are manufactured in China, the inventory is housed in North America, which streamlines shipping and
fulfillment. In addition, NOARK application engineers are available for technical support.
“Having multiple sources, but being locally in stock to supply to our end customers was important,” says Palmieri. “Because our customers can’t always wait two or three weeks. They need to have it within a week. It’s a commodity product, so it needs to be readily in stock.”
Plus, the NOARK MCBs could be used as a primary or secondary branch circuit breakers, allowing Cadence to carry appropriate amounts of inventory by offering one product that can do multiple jobs.
Caissy agrees that being able to access parts efficiently is a big advantage for Genik’s efficiency and bottom line.
“Stocking products consumes space, and space is money,” he says. “If Cadence can stock a great diversity of products, that is great for us. We don’t have to stock components here and we can be supplied directly without waiting weeks to receive the product we need.”
Over the past seven years, STELPRO has been able to maintain an annual increase in productivity of more than 5%. The savings in productivity have allowed the company to focus on other business priorities like launching new innovative product lines to their industry.
Caissy expects to use other NOARK components, such as contactors, in the future. He notes that contactors are more complicated than MCBs and poor products could cause havoc in their production and quality control. “If this product doesn’t perform as well as other brands, it would be a bigger problem,” he says. “But having had this experience with the NOARK breakers, we’re confident that we can go forward with implementing the NOARK contactors series in our machines.”
Palmieri is looking forward to working with NOARK to help Genik and other customers realize cost savings and exceptional performance, while supporting his own business. “The future is very bright. With NOARK producing quality products and keeping the price points where they are, we will make a very big dent with that product.”
To learn more about NOARK B1N Miniature Circuit Breakers, click here.
To learn more about NOARK Ex9CK Contactors, click here.
STELPRO is a Quebec-based manufacturer of integrated heating solutions. For more than 35 years, STELPRO has designed and manufactured electric heating products, including electric baseboards, convectors, fan heaters and heating cables, as well as electronic controls, such as electronic thermostats, that meet the highest performance standards in the industry.
About Cadence Automation
Located in Quebec, Canada, Cadence Automation specializes in automation and industrial connectivity, helping companies reduce the complexity, time and cost of modernizing their plants. We develop a complete solution, from diagnosis to implementation, that enables us to support and stimulate our customers’ growth and ensures the success of their transformation.
Genik develops customized automation solutions for the automobile and transportation industries, aeronautics and high-tech fields, manufacturing industry, and building materials industry. From concept development to project implementation, our team works with customers to design and implement complete
automated assembly and custom-made robotic solutions that meet customers’ profitability and performance requirements.