IROCK® has been building crushing and screening equipment for more than twenty years. With their headquarters located in Valley View, Ohio, a suburb of metropolitan Cleveland, IROCK prides itself as being an American business located in an area known for its quality equipment manufacturing. Recently, Waste Handling Equipment News had the opportunity to tour IROCK’s manufacturing plant. There, we learned more about their new marketing strategy and equipment innovations.
Robert F. Nelson, IROCK general manager, welcomed us saying the company has recently developed a new strategy for customer sales and service, especially throughout North America. He said in 2009, IROCK’s ownership wanted to look for new ways to serve their customers more effectively. These customers include recyclers, quarries and mining operations. After an analysis of how IROCK was doing business, the company made changes in how they manufacture and distribute the product line.
According to Nelson, instead of selling factory direct to the customers as they once did, IROCK now distributes their product line through a dealer network developed since that time. Now IROCK relies upon local and regional dealers who are better equipped to meet the needs of customers. This new approach has helped to increase sales and at the same time, foster the kind of good will that IROCK seeks.
With the implementation of this new sales strategy, Nelson said the company also began incorporating LEAN techniques into their manufacturing process. This helped improve product quality and customer satisfaction. More importantly, it fosters a team spirit throughout the entire organization that has also helped to increase sales. In addition, IROCK’s national sales manager Sean Donaghy has seen an improvement in customer relations because of the company’s new strategy.
Another component of IROCK’s new marketing strategy is how IROCK has strived to build an equipment inventory, ready to ship when a dealer makes a sale. “We have been busy building several of our best selling units so customers do not have to wait for their new equipment,” Nelson said. “We like to inventory at least one of each popular crusher and screen. As you can see out in our equipment yard, there are several units that have been built, tested and are ready to go. A couple of them have been sold and are awaiting the transportation to the customer.”
Heading out to the manufacturing area, Nelson said that the plant is laid out in a linear fashion with the raw materials arriving in one end of the building and the finished product emerging from the other end. “Our raw steel comes into the plant and we fabricate the equipment pieces with our new 400 amp plasma table,” he said. “With that unit, our product quality begins with precision components.”
From there, crews begin assembling the parts, hand crafting and welding them from the ground up. During our tour, which was late in the day, most of the workers had gone home, but two of the team was still on the job working on a welding project. “As a unit moves further down the line, it is taken to the paint booth where it is prepped and painted with our recognizable yellow paint,” he said.
Once the paint on the frame and support structure has dried, it moves to an area where the wheels or tracks, power plant and hydraulics are installed. After the equipment is fully assembled, it is moved outside to a staging area where it is quality checked and is test operated to make sure everything works as designed. From there, the finishing details are put into place and the unit is ready to head to a dealer or customer.
“We’ve been busy over the winter building our inventory,” said David Kubik, IROCK plant superintendant. “The long winter has given us a couple of extra weeks to build our stock. We have a good supply of equipment here, ready to roll.”
According to Nelson, IROCK crushers and screen systems have continually improved over time. For example, the patented Hydraset Hopper™, an optional attachment for the larger crushers, is designed to be removed from or installed on the crusher by one person. It has a built-in hydraulic power pack system that extends outriggers to lift the unit for placement onto a trailer. This helps customers with transportation weight restrictions. More importantly, the customer does not need to use a crane for that process.
Another interesting innovation is IROCK’s ROCK BOX design. Nelson explained how crushed material is allowed to accumulate on the specially designed shelf beneath the crusher. As material is crushed and builds up on this naturally occurring rock shelf, the material acts as a protection for the discharge point, increasing the life of the unit. Understandably, that helps to reduce repair and maintenance costs over the life of the crusher. While this ROCK BOX design has been in use for some time on IROCK’s impactor models, Nelson said they are working on its implementation into several other products as well.
Nelson concluded saying IROCK is excited about the future of the crushing and screening industry, especially when it comes to portable equipment. “With the price to value that is built into our equipment, we can offer recyclers, aggregate, top soil and mulch producers the crushers and screens that they need to produce a variety of products at competitive prices. He noted their engineering team has developed all-electric powered systems for companies who can use an alternative to diesel-powered units. For more information about IROCK, visit their website at irockcrushers.com or call them toll-free at 866-240-0201.