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issue: October 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motors & Air-Moving Devices
Helping OEMs Cut Costs

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Manufacturing appliances just keeps getting more expensive, and OEMs are looking for suppliers with cost-saving solutions. Suppliers of motors and air-movers are helping cut costs in several ways, including improved supply-chain management and finding ways to lower material costs.

Minimizing Material Costs

A. O. Smith undertook a major cost-reduction project on its residential refrigeration motors.

“We have tooled and are in production with a new lamination footprint that has reduced cost in steel and active winding material, says Julie Heinrichs, market manager–V&R for A. O. Smith Electrical Products Co. (Tipp City, OH, U.S.; www.aosmithmotors.com). “This new footprint allows us to better utilize the active material in the motor, making the motor as efficient, or more efficient in most cases, using less material. These cost reductions along with our new fan technology allow us to be cost-competitive while bringing technology to our customers.”

All Wellington motors are manufactured using a large number of advanced plastics components. “This allows us to use 80% less steel and 30% less copper when compared with traditional motors,” explains Marta di Domizio, marketing manager for Wellington Drive Technologies Ltd. (Auckland, New Zealand; www.wdtl.com). “With the ever-rising cost of raw material, this means that we are able to offer our electronically commutated products at very competitive prices, together with significantly reducing the products’ environmental impact. We’ve also worked to simplify the electronic controllers in our ECR line of products, offering only the features required in the commercial refrigeration market, which again translates into lower cost and less materials.”

Building to Forecast and Consolidating Components

“OEMs want to carry as little inventory as possible, therefore they’re looking for arrangements with their suppliers to be able to have regular, almost next-day, time-frame planning of inventory,” says John Morehead, vice president of strategic planning and marketing for Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. (St. Charles, IL, U.S.; www.bisongear.com). “We’re working on flexible, on-demand supply arrangements and building to customers’ forecasts. If they’re able to tell us what their requirements are going to be, we’re going to build to that forecast, which may be 60 days to six months, rather than building to their order or pull signal.”

Bison created an internal portfolio management group charged with looking at products’ individual model numbers and bills of material and trying to consolidate or achieve reductions, as well as reduce overall parts and inventory.

“By consolidating, we’re able to reduce cost in terms of the runs of those parts or machining with outside suppliers,” explains Morehead.


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