September 14, 2009

Colson Caster Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of standard and custom application caster and wheel products, today announced preliminary results of a cost and energy saving collaboration with its energy partner City Water and Light (CWL) of Jonesboro. As layoffs and company closures started to hit local businesses and Colson customers nationwide, the company’s operations staff met with CWL engineers and started an energy savings program which they nicknamed ‘Yes, We Can!’. Now, nearly a year into the venture, the company is sharing initial results of the program in an effort to encourage the same type of partnering and program development among other businesses nationwide.

“We are so heartened by how much relatively simple changes can impact the bottom line that we wanted to take the time to share with our customers and others who might consider similar initiatives,” said Don Laux, President and General Manager at Colson. “We’d like to keep as many of our friends and business partners as healthy as we can. It’s just good business.”

Upon collaboration with CWL, Colson made a simple change that has had remarkable ripple effects throughout the facility and the company. The operations team had Arkansas Industrial Machinery, replace an aging (more than 25 years old) and over-powered air processing unit. An AR Industrial Machinery representative, Kevin Conley, assisted the “Yes, We Can!’ team by performing multiple on-site tests to determine the most efficient requirements needed in a new air compressor and dryer, and made the final recommendation of an Atlas Copco compressor for a replacement, a brand known for efficient operation. This initial single, and much-debated, initiative has spawned the following preliminary results:

  • An initial energy savings per year up to 25%
  • A savings of $2,000 per year in repair costs due to design of the new unit
  • A quick 3-year payback for initial expenditure
  • A savings on service and repair costs due to a full supply of replacement parts from the old unit for a backup compressor already on-site
  • A safer working environment due to enclosed design and unit non-emissions
  • A safer working environment due to lowered decibel levels from 100 to a new level of 86
  • 700 fewer gallons per year of non-biodegradable, waste-creating oil needing energy-expensive treatment

These are just a few of the initial findings regarding the new compressor unit. There are many more expected, and some unexpected, such as an enthusiastic response from Colson employees who are now examining and implementing money-saving changes at every level of its operation, from using recycled paper products for packing and printing, to a somewhat obsessive monitoring of lights and electronics in unoccupied areas.

“There are so many ways to make easy changes that have both immediate and long-term effects,” said Randy Simpkins, Engineering Service Director and Colson’s energy partner from CWL. “Most energy suppliers have a team of experts available to look at businesses and help implement changes that just might save jobs, and sometimes the business itself. The best part is that this service is usually offered for free.”

All companies are trying to do their best to get through a difficult time and Colson is hoping that perhaps these efforts by the manufacturer and its energy partner might serve as an example of encouragement and ideas for other U.S. companies.