This past fall I went on Sid Harvey’s factory tour on this, their 80th anniversary year. I had been to the Long Island plant many times, but this was of their new plant in Andrews, South Carolina—the result of many years of research and renovation. This facility, just over three times the size of the Valley Stream plant, is more than 100,000 square feet.
Upon entering the building, we were greeted by Sid Harvey himself and then greeted by Jim Otto, the senior vice president of the manufacturing division. Jim explained to us why the theory of rebuilding parts has entered the new age of manufacturing. Some of the products that come out of the factory are new manufactured parts, but most are remanufactured parts.
We went down the process line and saw just what goes into this process, and I was amazed. In a shop I once worked for, we would take used parts, test them to find out what was broken, repair it, paint it and back on the truck it went; most of the time that was good enough. However, when a part comes into Sid Harvey’s, the first concern is “why did it fail” and how can it be remanufactured to make it better.
Here each part is stripped down to the barest components, relays are stripped down to the individual contacts, motors are completely rewound with real copper wire, not copper coated, fuel units are disassembled and each component checked and replaced. Any products that use bellows in the unit receive new bellows. Bearing assemblies are air tested to 40 psi digitally. If it does not fail at 40 psi, I doubt if it will fail at 30 psi. After each step, the part is thoroughly checked by computers to verify the accuracy of the part. If it fails, the part goes back for further analysis and any necessary changes.
One of our tour guides said that the remanufacturing process is not only good for the company; it is also keeping a lot of “good junk” out of the landfills, which is good for the environment as well. Think about how many remanufactured parts you could use instead of new. They even offer a “one year better than new” guarantee, up to five years. Their product line now is over 1,000 products.
After the products are stripped down, re-manufactured, tested by computer, one product from each case is randomly pulled from the carton and is sent to the quality control department, which has final say as to what leaves the plant.
Additionally, Sid’s does more than remanufacturing—they also have a research and development department. We met with the head of engineering, George Hall, who is doing some amazing work in the area of research. Most of it is still protected, but I’ll give you a small tease—I was amazed his test bank on seals testing B-5, B-10, and B-100. Also what happens inside that fuel tank is something to see. As I have always said, water is our worst enemy and for the first time, I have seen it live. And water will always be in the tank!
One of the new products I was quite impressed with is the new Sid Harvey’s liquid filled pressure and vacuum gauge set. If you want to do the job right, you need to test and this combo gauge set is the right tool for the job.
On a final note, I did notice that Sid Harvey’s has a lot of factory employees doing work, which probably could be done by machines, that is not Sid’s policy. Here they want to make a profit and also keep the workers employed. Sid Harvey himself told me that any manager, supervisor, or technician is welcome to come and tour the factory. Contact your Sid Harvey rep or visit the Sid Harvey store near you and ask about a factory tour, it will open your eyes, it did mine.