FastPatch HPRE® System Case Study – Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

A Disruption in DART’s Downtown Business District

FastPatch HPRE® Downtown Dallas Business District, May 2019.

FastPatch HPRE® Downtown Dallas Business District, May 2019.

Willamette Valley Company, LLC specializes in collaborative approaches to solving tough industry problems.  Earlier this year, Willamette Valley Company had the opportunity to work with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) which serves the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex of Texas.

Story Source: wvcorailroad.com

Embedding rail in rail grout had traditionally been a messy, labor-intensive, wasteful and time-consuming process. When Mike Holbrook, VP of Rail Operations for DART, found out about a new mechanically delivered and fast curing Polyurethane system, he started working with Willamette Valley Company’s Bret Andreasen to create a system that would bring rail grout into the modern Transit and Light Rail World. (To read Mike Holbrook’s full article on the Dallas DART project see Passenger Transport June 24th 2019 edition, page 10 )

DART provided multiple test locations before committing to this new disruptive technology to bring rail grout into the 21st Century. “We chose HPRE®-MD from the Willamette Valley Company for Environmental, Labor Reduction, Speed of Cure and Noise & Vibration reduction reasons AND it’s made in America” cites Holbrook.

HPRE®-MD allows trains to be put back into service within 1 hour of placing the rail grout due to the quick cure of the 2 liquid components which are mixed at the nozzle. The high output of a minimum 30 cubic feet per hour allowed DELTA RR and GW Peoples to finish early with just a 3 man crew. DELTA & GWP were instrumental in creating innovative methods for preparing the rail replacement and for installing the rail grout.

For example, Larry Lorella of DELTA RR pushed for larger containers for the chemicals asking the manufacturer to design day tanks to avoid time-consuming change-outs of the chemical totes. Willamette Valley’s Bret Andreasen went to work and the result was further collaboration and success for the Design, Manufacturing and Contracting teams. The disruption to service in Dallas was minimized, the disruption to traditional technology by using HPRE®-MD is a big impact.

So what makes this technology work so well in the Light Rail/Transit World? Nathan Werst, the formulating chemist for HPRE®-MD explains: “Although fast curing Polyurethanes are nothing new in the Construction World, what is new is the level of performance that HPRE® provides. My team designed a system that meets the highest performance possible to support current and future ridership forecasts and environments.”

“For example, The HPRE®-MD system is VOC free and 100 times more electrically isolating than previous/existing generation materials on offer. HPRE®-MD was formulated to maximize the expectations of the specifiers and owners expectations as to how a rail grout should perform and not how it could perform based upon technology available at that time.”

Mr. Werst added: “We do not worry about comparing Shore hardness to outdated technology or our compressive strength to harder (brittle) materials, what really counts is toughness and resilience to stand the test of time and increased load.”

Agencies that have and are using the polymer system include: DART, Baltimore MTA, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago RTD, SFMTA, RTD (Denver), VTA, BART as well as many DOTs and Airport facilities in the USA, Canada, Latin America and around the Globe. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us at Sales@WVCORailroad.com or 800-333-9826. 

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

“We are excited to bring to market an affordable, expandable, and easy-to-use robotic weld cell system that enhances the capabilities of companies as they first turn to automation and beyond.” – Pre-Tec General Manager, Stan Reynolds

Even though Willamette Valley Company’s Pre‐Tec Division has engineered more than 370 robotic systems and has become one of the largest integrators of robotic systems in the western region of North America, we are always searching for new ways to offer effective solutions through robotic automation.

One of our latest expamples of this is Pre-Tec’s unique line-up of FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells, built for companies using automation for the first time, as well as customers looking to expand their robotic automation capabilities. Each system is developed using the highest quality industrial components.

The small footprint through single-piece platforms allows for rapid delivery and installation time through pre-engineered solutions that are affordable and simple to use. The robotic experts at Pre-Tec have designed solutions that enhance load and unload time through dual-zone systems with room for customization as needs change or expand.

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

Careful planning went into each solution with the presence of forklift pockets for quick transport within the facility with leveling functions to ensure accuracy. Safety is at the forefront with the presence of modular fencing, welding flash curtains, push button operator controls, and service access doors.

Pre-Tec Robotic Automation

PRE-TEC, by expanding their material handling capabilities, continues the problem solving tradition by producing custom robotic operation solutions for other companies’ manufacturing challenges. Learn more about our robotic weld cells by going to www.pre-tec.com or download more information here.

WVCO Railroad Division to Attend National Highway Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference

WVCO RailroadThe WVCO Railroad Division is pleased to announce we will be exhibiting products and application systems related to rail and highway safety at the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference Aug. 19-22, 2019.

This year’s conference, held at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel, will bring leaders in the rail and highway industries together while presenting contemporary topics and new technology to an international audience. We are looking forward to introducing our solutions designed to make today’s railroads and highways safer and more economical to event attendees that include representatives from FRA, State DOT’s, Class I, II, and III Railroads and representatives of railroads from Canada, Mexico, and overseas.

Our proprietary product, SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes, frequently generates a great deal of interest during exhibitions and conferences. We are also there to provide information and answer questions about our railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties and unique application systems.

For more information about the 2019 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Conference, please visit nathwyrrsignalconf.com.

About the WVCO Railroad Division
We aim to create the most economical and safest solutions for the railroad industry, by building innovative, high performing products and equipment. As a transportation industry leader, the WVCO Railroad Division has tackled some of the most challenging issues in this industry while providing ground-breaking new products and application systems for light and heavy rail systems all over the world. To learn more, please visit www.wvcorailroad.com.

Introducing WVCO’s New Embedded Rail Solution

Minimize rail deflection and absorb vibration with a new High-Performance Polyurethane Rail Encapsulation (HPRE) system.We aim to create the most economical and safest solutions for the railroad industry, by building innovative, high performing products and equipment. As a transportation industry leader, the WVCO Railroad Division has tackled some of the most challenging issues in this industry while providing ground-breaking new products and application systems for light and heavy rail systems all over the world.

Embedded Rail Systems in city streets and urban environments have faced a range of challenges that include excessive vibration, noise, rail deflection, and maintenance difficulties. To address these challenges, the WVCO team introduced one of our newest solutions: the FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator. This new system is designed from WVCO’s innovative polymer and dispensing equipment and offers fast installation and a long-lasting solution for embedded rail systems with key performance properties.

Our FastPatch HPRE, High-Performance Rail Encapsulator absorbs and significantly reduces sound & vibration and is resistant to chemicals and salts. It is also
•Electrically isolating
•Flexible and Tough
•Meter Dispensed
•Fast Cure
•COLTE and Adhesion to Concrete

The cure time is just a few minutes, allowing for quick return-to-service times. We believe this product will outlast and outperform traditional repair materials due to its unique polymer properties. Download the FastPatch HPRE Performance Sheet for more information.
EMBEDDED RAIL High Performance Rail Encapsulator

What is challenging your business? How can we increase safety and save your business money? Learn more about WVCO’s Railroad Solutions.

About the Willamette Valley Company (WVCO) Railroad Division 
The WVCO Railroad Division is the industry leader in providing innovative new products and application systems to preserve and extend the life of important assets for today’s railroads. Our solutions include railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties and unique application system along with SpikeFast®, the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes. We offer the best solutions for your applications and solve some of the most challenging issues in this industry.
WVCO Railroad Solutions

WVCO Railroad Division Gets Contemporary New Look!

WVCO Railroad Products

The WVCO Railroad Products website gets a new look!

When it comes to innovations in railroad maintenance products, the WVCO railroad division is among the best in the industry. Our railroad maintenance products like SpikeFast® for plugging spike holes, high-performance grout for light rails and wood and concrete tie repair materials and application systems have been a game-changer for companies across the world; we felt it was time our world-class railroad division to have a world-class website to showcase these achievements.

The WVCO team recently launched our newly designed Railroad Solutions website featuring an easy-to-navigate, contemporary new look. In addition to the new website, the WVCO Railroad Division has launched a fresh new logo to reflect the company’s commitment to finding modern solutions to address the challenges of modern-day railroads.

WVCO Railroad Solutions

“Our outstanding team has invested hundreds of hours developing our products and pushing them to the limits,” says WVCO Business Manager, Rob Loomis. “We wanted to make it as simple as possible for rail industry professionals to find the necessary information about the performance of our wood remediation products, coatings, dispensing systems, and a new High-Performance Polyurethane Rail Encapsulation (HPRE) system.’

The site was launched in time for the 2019  AREMA Annual Conference and Exposition-the largest U.S.-based technical conference and trade show for the railroad industry scheduled for later this summer in  Minneapolis, MN.  The combined railway industry event is sponsored by WVCO partners AREMA, RSI, REMSA, and RSSI.

Visit www.wvcorailroad.com to learn more about our innovative rail products and solutions and let us know what you think of our new look!

WVCO Partner Spotlight on the European Panel (EPF) Federation

WVCO Partnership European Panel (EPF) Federation

The Willamette Valley Company has formed a number of valuable partnerships with multiple organizations that helped us lead the way in the Wood Products industry in the United States and across the world. This month, we are spotlighting one of the newer partnerships we have formed with the European Panel (EPF) Federation, the “voice of the EU wood-based panel industry”. EPF represents the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hard and softboard, and plywood and represents members in 25 countries.

As demand for wood products increases globally, the EU wood panel industry is thriving; bringing in about 22 billion euro each year while creating more than 100,000 jobs for an estimated 5,000 businesses across Europe. In the ever-changing political and economic environment across Europe, there is a growing need for a collective voice to speak on behalf of members of the EU wood-based panel industry and European Panel (EPF) Federation provides just that. “Working with our members, we make the case for the industry as an integral part of the EU’s bio and circular economy, while championing high standards of wood-based panel manufacturers and their contribution to a greener, more sustainable economy,”​ states the organization.

Their mission is to advocate for all producers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood producers, suppliers and stakeholders for economic, technical and environmental issues towards European and international institutions. In addition, the organization provides detailed communications and data for its members as well as increase opportunities to showcase their members’ work.

Architects, builders, and designers all over Europe are embracing wood products for construction projects due to multiple economic and environmental benefits of using the material. Wooden structures are proving to be more durable and provides other benefits like fire resistance, superior acoustic insulation, better thermal insulation in addition to an overall pleasing aesthetic. For more on this, read Types of Wood-Based Panels and Their Economic Impact.

As WVCO is a multinational corporation, we are especially proud to partner with this outstanding organization that is taking steps to further the wood products industry throughout Europe. We are recognized the world over by industry associations and organizations, as well as other leading-edge companies who have found it beneficial to forge partnerships with us in order to better serve their customers and memberships. Those same partnerships have enabled us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources. Some of our other valued partnerships include:

American Plywood Association – APA

American Public Works Association – APWA

American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association – AREMA

American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association – ASLRRA

Canadian Plywood Producers – Canply

Engineered Wood Technology Association – EWTA

International Concrete Repair Institute – ICRI

NACE International

Polyurea Development Association – PDA

Polyurethane Manufacturers Association – PMA

Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association – REMSA

The Society for Protective Coatings – SSPC

Wood Moldings and Millwork Producers Association – WMMPA

Where Can I Find Technical Data on WVCO Products & Solutions?

wil-spray-500

For almost seven decades, innovators at Willamette Valley Company have introduced hundreds of custom solutions to companies multiple industries and specialties ranging from wood products to railroad, manufacturing, robotics, concrete and more.

Our elite chemists and engineers are working together to devise better products like coatings, fillers, adhesives, robotics, parts and more to improve the functionality and efficiency of your company’s operations. The list products and services produced by the following divisions is much too long to mention in a single post:

Wood Products
WVCO Railroad
PRE-TEC
FastPatch 
POLYQuik
Eclectic Products Incorporated
Idaho Milling and Grain
Tapel Willamette

We invite you to look through WVCO’s list of Technical Data Sheets to learn the specifics of our products and services like Paints & Primers, Inks, Synthetic Patch, Railroad Products, Extenders & Fillers, Epoxies, Putties and more so your company many benefit from them as well. Each sheet details the product’s features, benefits, where to use, typical properties, application details and contact information.

We stand by the quality of all of our wood products solutions, equipment, parts, railroad maintenance products, concrete repair solutions, wood molding products, flooring products, automated systems and agriculture solutions. Please let us know what WVCO can do for your company?

WVCO Partner Spotlight: Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA)

Photo Source: REMSA

Willamette Valley Company is proud to partner with many outstanding organizations that have helped to lead the way in our industries. These unique partnerships have enabled us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources.

This month, we are spotlighting our partnership with REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association), a non-profit trade group representing over 330 railway engineers, contractors, and consultants and maintenance-of-way suppliers across the country.

One of the things we value the most about our partnership with REMSA is their efforts to advance initiatives in support of the rail industry (a $5 billion industry supporting over 35,000 jobs nationwide) and the business development opportunities the organization extends to its members on a national and international scale. Since 1965, the organization has strived to provide its members with the very best equipment, machines, and services in the railroad industry.

REMSA’s Mission is to facilitate global business development opportunities to companies and individuals who manufacture or sell maintenance-of-way equipment, products, and services or are engineers, contractors, and consultants working in construction and/or maintenance of railroad transportation facilities.

Watch the video below to learn more about REMSA’s key membership value initiatives and its role in supporting the maintenance of way industry.

REMSA is also a sponsor of Railway Interchange, the largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. WVCO has had the honor of participating in this world-class rail industry event a number of times by showcasing our WVCO Railroad and POLYQuik products. In addition, the organization supports the rail industry through actions such as:

*Maintaining long standing alliances with the Federal Railroad Administration, Association of American Railroads, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), the Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc., the Railway Supply Institute, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the U.S. Congress, among others.

*Publishing a quarterly newsletter that includes interviews with industry leaders, articles on foreign opportunities, legislation and lobbying efforts, company profiles, as well as exhibition and meeting news.

*Providing scholarships to REMSA member company employees and their families.
Supporting networking with an interactive job board, Career Network, that offers easy-to-use and highly targeted resources for online employment connections.

*Association representatives are politically active on behalf of its members and the railroad industry by meeting with lawmakers in Washington, DC, and at the state level.

To learn more about REMSA and the other contributions the organization has given to our industry, please visit www.remsa.org. 

PRE-TEC Moves to New Location- Stays Committed to Innovation

Pre-Tec's New Home

PRE-TEC’s new building located at 990 Owen Loop North, in Eugene Oregon

PRE-TEC, the robotics division of Willamette Valley Company, has moved! The company relocated from its 38,000 sg ft. facility at 675 McKinley Street, to a new 110,000 sg ft. building with over 60,000 sg ft. of manufacturing space.
PRE-TEC Moves into New space

General Manager, Stan Reynolds commented, “ By more than doubling our manufacturing base, we are able to better serve our customers, and have room for future growth.” In addition to the PRE-TEC Division, all the groups at the corporate headquarters on Arrowsmith Street are now also in the Owen Loop building.

Founded more than 25 years ago, PRE-TEC is the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast. Known also for superior chemical metering products, PRE-TEC has prepared more than 165 robotic systems in the last decade alone.

Click here for the full report.

How Is Automation and Robotics Good for the American Workforce?

PRE-TEC Robotics Willamette Valley Company

“The overwhelming conclusion of industry experts is that automation doesn’t spell the end of gainful employment for humans, but rather, the improvement of employment opportunities.”

– From How Robotic Automation is Changing the Job Market

As industrial automation technology continues to develop and evolve, our PRE-TEC team is here to help businesses all over the country prepare for the future by developing innovative custom manufacturing solutions to help businesses grow. Since the 1990s, WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has been at the forefront of innovative manufacturing solutions and the development of precision equipment. Our team has prepared hundreds of robotic systems through the decades that have led to measurable improvements for the company’s overall “bottom line”.

It is not difficult to understand how the use of industrial robots is a cost-effective way to produce higher quality products and increase productivity, but if you look deeper, you will see the benefits to human workers as well. In fact, there are a number of ways the evolution of robotics are improving conditions and creating new opportunities for workers. However, the use of robotics is not without controversy.

The Fear of Automation & Robotics
There is an unfortunate perception that robots will eliminate the need for the human workforce in the near future. Job security is always a primary concern among manufacturing workers and the projected increase in automation is causing anxiety among the American workforce. It is understandable why many employees and labor unions can perceive automation as a threat to their well-being and job security.

How Does Automation Benefit Workers?
In this post, we’d like to counter those fears and make the point that automation does not necessarily equal job loss. In fact, it’s quite the contrary- the evidence is showing that automation is actually improving prospects for American workers. A wide range of industry experts agree that automation will lead to better working conditions, higher pay and job growth.

1) Safer Working Conditions
By taking on the necessary manufacturing tasks that can be repetitive and cumbersome for workers, automation creates a safer work environment and reduces the risk of serious and sometimes fatal on-the-job accidents. Eliminating these tasks in a fast-paced production line reduces stress, mental fatigue, and injuries that can result from lifting and moving large objects.

2) More Satisfaction
Business experts predict that improving tasks like parts retrieval or transferring materials within a facility will allow workers to redirect their skills to better uses. If machines can perform tasks that are repetitive or even dangerous for employees to perform, workers have more opportunities focus their efforts on more engaging job functions that improve quality and customer service like Q.C. checks, special orders, machine operation, maintenance, repair, and line supervision.

3) Higher Pay
Historically, supply and demand drive wage increases and businesses can only pay workers more if they become more productive. Automation enables human workers to be more efficient and focus on more valuable tasks that justify a higher wage. Manufacturing job titles and tasks are changing and employers are adding higher paying job opportunities like system operators, supervisors, programmers, and technicians to keep operating systems in top condition and running efficiently.

4) More jobs
In most cases, utilizing automation for materials handling results in higher output for a lower cost. As a company grows, so will the need for more jobs in that industry. As an example, the Wall Street Journal cites the growth of the banking industry after automated tellers were introduced in the 1970s. After ATMs were introduced, more branches were opened which resulted in more positions and job openings to be filled for decades.

Like computers, automation does not mean job elimination. Despite their advanced capabilities, automated robotic systems do not eliminate the need for a human workforce. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 90% of jobs will not be able to be fully automated. Robotics and automation will improve production, employee safety, and satisfaction, which results in a lower turnover. Adapting to the “age of robotics” is a necessary change businesses will need to make in order to stay competitive and to help maximize their worker’s potential.