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Three submissions from County Materials were selected as winners in the 2019 American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA) Chairman’s Quality Awards. A diverse panel of ten industry judges selected County Materials as a winner in three out of five total categories.
The ACPA Chairman’s Quality Awards recognizes concrete pipe manufacturing companies that have implemented successful quality initiatives resulting in a product of repeated excellence. County Materials won in each of the following three categories, Quality Control Innovation, Individual Plant Process Improvement, and Company Wide Best Practices. Also, County Materials had another submission named as a finalist in the Individual Plant Process Improvement category.
In the Quality Control Innovation category, County Materials’ Charleston, IL, location won 2nd place for a “Manhole Snatcher” device. The manhole snatcher is a custom-made lifting device that uses the product’s weight for secure attachment that enables faster and safer moving of manhole bases, extended bases, and risers, and reduces handling damage during initial yarding, transfer, and loading. The manhole snatcher is faster, eliminating the risk of damage or a manhole section falling off the forks or swaying on chains.
In the Company Wide Improvement category, County Materials’ Astatula, FL, location was recognized for its adoption of a gasket management system, which won 2nd place. The gasket management system expedites the shipping and returns process for the company’s drivers. In this system, a team member assembles a tied gasket bundle in a designated area for drivers. Trucks are then able to pull up to the gasket area and immediately be equipped with the gasket load, facilitating faster assembly of each load.
The Astatula location also won 3rd place in the Quality Innovation category for its “Spigot Go/No-Go Ring Gauge.” The gauge is an all-in-one ring, which confirms that diameters are within target tolerance at 360 degrees (versus at single points like traditional go/no-go rods). This device speeds up the quality control process and ensures a more accurate measure of pipe quality.
“Product quality is a vital part of our continued success in the marketplace,” said Chuck Curry, County Materials Quality Control Manager for Pipe & Precast. “Innovations such as these increase our efficiencies in-house while ensuring the highest levels of performance and resiliency in the field. With quality best practices, concrete drainage products have no rival.”
County Materials received recognition at an awards luncheon held during the 2020 Pipe School in San Marcos, TX, on January 9th, 2020. The plants were also awarded ACPA medals displaying these industry achievements. Participating in this annual competition demonstrates County Materials’ Vision of Success, Stability and Support, and a commitment to product quality and continuous improvement in the concrete manufacturing industry.
In the summer of 2019, County Materials began production of the company’s largest prestress concrete bridge girders ever made to date at its state-of-the-art indoor production facility located in Janesville, WI. These girders came in at seven-and-a-half feet tall, 160-feet-long, and 203,000 lbs. Since these girders began arriving on site at the I-294, Mile-Long Bridge in Chicago, IL, County Materials has again successfully produced even larger girders for later phases of the Mile-Long Bridge Project, setting not only a company record, but a record for the entire Midwest region.
On January 13th, 2019, the Janesville production team successfully built, cast and stripped the first of these colossal prestress concrete girders. This girder measures seven-and-a-half feet tall, 186.5-feet-long, and weighs in at 245,000 lbs. Months of planning and machinery improvements went into this historic day.
Innovation and the drive for success made this project possible. Prior to producing the girder, the production team calculated the weight, estimating a single girder would exceed 245,000 lbs. County Materials invested in enhanced crane equipment from Mi-Jack Products, Inc. to allow for safe lifting and handling of these large girders. This equipment included the purchase of two Strongback Interface Bars allowing for crane operators to utilize eight picking points while lifting and moving the girders, compared to the usual four.
Improvements were also made to the plant production lines enabling the crews the capacity to run the additional prestressed strands required for seven-and-a-half-foot tall girder production.
County Materials is slated to produce 22 of these colossal girders and a total of 273 girders for the project. County Materials is proud of their entire Janesville prestress production team for their talents and efforts contributing to this historic achievement.
Career and technical education (CTE), is education that focuses on preparing students for high-wage, high-demand careers such as those available in the concrete manufacturing industry. February is recognized as CTE Month, which celebrates the achievements of education and other initiatives schools and businesses accomplish each year.
County Materials is proud to celebrate the company’s support of career and technical education. Throughout the year, County Materials hosts plant tours for young students who are just beginning to think about their future career, to college students who are seeking experience in their field. County Materials also makes regular donations to industry organizations and classrooms for students to get hands on experience with the materials and tools used in the skilled trades.
Continuing education for the next generation of leaders and industry specialists is supported by County Materials through a scholarship program to assist children of our team members.
Additionally, County Materials supports our team members with professional growth and development through training and education opportunities that focus on technical and leadership skills.
County Materials also makes an impact on CTE by engaging in the public dialogue surrounding worthwhile careers and opportunities in manufacturing and construction. The company hosts frequent plant tours for elected officials, industry professionals and government employees, and our engineers and representatives participate in discussions and seminars that educate individuals on the contributions that concrete manufacturing and concrete products make in local communities.
Keep an eye out throughout the month of February and the rest of the year as County Materials highlights the company’s efforts to promote CTE.
Below you will find information on seminars currently scheduled. Select an event for any related registration information. Check back periodically for updates and new seminars.