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Louisville, KY

Case Study: Dana Corp.

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Lighting is a tool we use to provide the best possible quality, and Big Ass Lights give us the product to achieve that. I’d recommend their Light Club program to anyone who doesn’t want to relamp the whole facility at one time, for whatever reason. It makes a relighting project easy and manageable. Robbie Heinrich, Engineering Manager

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Powerfoil X Series
Yellow Jacket

Problem

Anyone who knows American car parts knows the name Dana. The company has been in business since 1904, when it shipped its first U-joints. Today, its employees are in three dozen countries on six continents.

One 160,000-sq-ft Dana Corp. facility in Louisville does a lot of heavy lifting, manufacturing more than a million driveshafts a year for various vehicles, including every school bus in America. That’s important work that has to be done right. But summers in Louisville, which sits smack up against the Ohio River, can be notoriously hot and humid. And anyone who’s ever worked through a Louisville summer in a non-air-conditioned building can tell you it’s hard to focus on anything but the next water break. For Dana, Big Ass Fans were the solution.

Solution

Big Ass Fans’ powerful industrial Powerfoils keep a breeze blowing through each of Dana’s workstations and sub-assembly areas, helping employees stay comfortable and focused on their jobs. And along one long corridor, Big Ass Yellow Jackets are mounted at regular intervals overhead. “Before, that area had a lot of stagnant air and was very uncomfortable. The Yellow Jackets have really made a difference,” says Robbie Heinrich, engineering manager at the plant.

Heinrich could feel the improvement that Big Ass Fans made on comfort and see the boost to productivity. So when he heard that Big Ass also manufactures LED fixtures, he thought he’d give them a try. He had them installed in a new warehouse addition, and their performance impressed him. They were bright, incredibly efficient, and essentially maintenance-free, unlike the T-8 fluorescents throughout the rest of the plant. And thanks to their motion sensors, they only were on when they were needed, and made it easier on Heinrich when he had to go looking for someone.

Heinrich decided the whole plant could benefit from the Big Ass LEDs. But the upfront expense of a full retrofit was a big hurdle. As a publicly traded company, Dana must work with the financial expectations that come with a stock market symbol. Getting large capital expense requests approved can sometimes pose a challenge if they’re for something that doesn’t specifically impact the core business, a category that new factory lighting generally falls into. Heinrich put in his request but wasn’t surprised when he didn’t receive quick approval.

That just meant he went to Plan B.

After getting a Big Ass Light proposal and corporate’s blessing, the enterprising engineering manager put in a single, standing purchase order to receive 25 fixtures a month through the Big Ass Light Club program. Heinrich paid for them out of his maintenance budget; when he needed to skip a month, he dropped a quick email to his Big Ass contact. And in less than a year, the whole facility was fit with LEDs that were installed at Dana’s convenience.

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