INNOVATION: CASE STUDY
NTM-GB: An Exercise in Efficiency
NTM-GB develops, manufactures, sells and services a range of Waste and Recycling Collection Vehicles (RCVs) at their facility in the UK.
The company historically brought in vehicle bodies from Finland, but now aims to build all their vehicles from scratch in the UK – controlling every point in the manufacturing process locally and in one location.
While the new manufacturing operation will bring many benefits; there were challenges in development - not least the efficient use of factory space. A senior NTM-GB manager says: “Blasting and spraying are large parts of the manufacturing process so it was important for us to get our approach right.
“We worked with Airblast AFC to develop a booth that could meet all our requirements and help us maintain an efficient manufacturing facility. One of the major features of the booth they developed is its roller shutter door.”
We believe the door is unique to blasting booths. Rather than use hinged blast-resistant doors, we developed a lined roller-shutter door. This single innovation meant NTM-GB maintained far more productive manufacturing space that would otherwise need to be left empty to accommodate swing-opening doors. This helped the company increase its manufacturing capacity and will ultimately improve cost-efficiency.
The door is lined with a blast-proof fabric to prevent abrasive damage to the moving parts and is significantly easier to fit that a hinged door – helping factories like NTM-GB to reduce commissioning time, and once again, save money.
NTM-GB again: “Airblast AFC worked with us from the outset to help create the most efficient solution. As well as the door innovation, the safety and comfort features stood out to me. It’s important that our operators can work well and work safely; the sound-suppression feature was appealing and the design of the dust extraction system meant we achieved a very high speed of ventilation and excellent visual clarity with little or no dust build-up.”
The efficiency of Airblast AFC’s booth has helped NTM-GB to maintain their position as a leader in their market. Its flexibility has delivered many other advantages including the potential for additional revenue via contract blasting when the booth is not being used for their own vehicles.
The company’s RCVs are known for their simplicity, reliability and longevity – many are still in productive service 25 years’ post-sale. NTM-GB has the last word: “We’re very customer-focussed and develop vehicles to last by closely matching the specific requirements of our public and private sector customers.
“It’s critical that we continue to deliver the level of quality we’re known for and we can only do that with a highly efficient manufacturing process. Airblast AFC understood this and delivered; the entire process was problem-free and I’d recommend them to manufacturers with similar demands.”