From an Idea to a Company
Seeing the need for more effective and efficient battery handling equipment, W. Martin Huber had an idea. In 1979, that idea became a company, Battery Handling Systems, Inc. (BHS). BHS has now grown into a world renowned manufacturer and supplier of storage and retrieval systems for industrial batteries. BHS offers design, engineering, sales and support of battery handling equipment to customers all around the world. With Fortune 500 customers such as Lowe’s, Costco, and UPS, BHS has become well-known for their highly-engineered products and best-in-class service.
What makes BHS unique is their ability to provide best-in-class service and support to their customers. Not only can they customize products to fit customer needs, but they also adhere to strict quality control standards. Each man-on-board extractor is subject to a 108 point inspection twice before shipping, done by a qualified mechanical engineer. Standing by the quality of their products, BHS also offers a 13 month guarantee against all defective parts and workmanship. Unlike their competition, BHS provides their customers with 24 hour support and a nationwide team of certified service and installation technicians.
Above: Battery Handling Systems, Inc. CEO, W. Martin Huber
Investment in Innovation
Dedication to tradition in quality and craftsmanship has always been important to BHS, but they also see a great need to continue to innovate, change and improve the way they do business. Throughout the years, BHS has continued to invest in advances in safety, ergonomics, and equipment. BHS was first in their industry to begin automating their manufacturing processes with robots in 2000 and a laser cutter in 2001. They continue to research ways to improve their manufacturing processes so they can provide the highest quality products and the best engineered solutions in order to continually improve their customer’s productivity and profitability.
Continuing their drive towards innovation and leading edge technology, BHS purchased their first version of AutoCAD in 1990, and then in 2004 purchased Autodesk Inventor. With Inventor, they immediately noticed an improvement in their manufacturing design processes. By using 3D design in Inventor, they were able to greatly improve their precision, an important factor when working with laser cutting technology.
“With AutoCAD our drawings were not precise enough for our laser cutter, Inventor allowed us to create more refined, detailed drawings that worked much better with the laser cutter, cutting our prototype costs dramatically,” states Shaun Reynolds, Fabrication Manager at BHS.
BHS also noticed a dramatic change in their design processes throughout the engineering department. Instead of designing with the ideal that “close is good enough”, BHS’ designers began to see the need to become more detail oriented in their drawings. With Inventor they were able to see what they were doing in a 3D environment, avoiding clearance and tolerance issues before they arise in manufacturing of the product.
BHS now uses numerous Autodesk products for their manufacturing designs including Autodesk Inventor Professional, AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, and Autodesk Vault.
Above: Double Stack Battery Extractor awaiting its first testing.
A True Partner
Unsatisfied with their previous Autodesk software reseller, BHS began the search for a partner that could satisfy their need for high quality CAD support, training and installation services for their new Autodesk software. That is when BHS found D3 TECHNOLOGIES.
“The technical support we received from D3 was far better than we expected. Now we don’t have to worry about stumbling on a problem with the software, all we have to do is call D3 and get immediate help,” added Shaun Reynolds, Fabrication Manager for Battery Handling Systems, Inc.
BHS was able to receive expert CAD training from D3 as well as a complete, custom installation of Autodesk Inventor and Vault. Vault was installed on everyone’s machines throughout the design department, improving BHS’ design and project processes. With Vault they were able to send their designs throughout the entire shop, while using Autodesk Design Review for necessary markups.
With the training they received, BHS’ design engineers were able to improve their proficiency with Autodesk Inventor, allowing BHS to decrease their time to market. Unlike their competitors, approximately 84% of all orders from BHS ship within 5 days, 95% ship within 10 days. With Inventor, BHS has been able to decrease their time to market for new products by 30-40%.
Above: Andrzej Madej, Robot Operator for BHS, programs a new fixture for ATC units.
A Future of Growth
BHS has set some aggressive goals for their future development. They are driving to increase their sales by 30% in the next year, as well as expand into the global market including Europe. BHS would also like to focus more on introducing lean engineering concepts into their business model, working to increase their overall capacity.
In order to better serve their customers, BHS will continue to work closely with D3 TECHNOLOGIES in developing their skills with Inventor and expanding their knowledge and expertise by using the rendering and animation tools inside Inventor Studio. By utilizing Inventor Studio, BHS will be able to show their customers how their products will operate and what their designs would look like in a 3D environment.
Along with their many changes and hopes for growth, one thing at BHS remains the same, their unwavering dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. BHS has remained at the forefront of the battery handling industry throughout the years and their uncompromising standards of workmanship and quality ensure they are here to stay for many years to come.
For more information on Battery Handling Systems, Inc. visit their website at www.bhs1.com.
Special thanks to Shaun Reynolds, Jim Huber and W. Martin Huber for their contributions to this article.
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