Posted on Thursday September 10, 2020

On manufacturing floor, this Amigo ‘well worth its weight in gold’

Sponsored Content for Amigo Mobility written by MLive – Matthew Vande Bunte

See Original Article

The Dex Pro+ is one of four material handling carts made specifically for industrial settings by Amigo Mobility International.

Even as Orchid turned out high-quality products, the Michigan-based maker of surgical supplies had room for improvement – like all manufacturers. For example, the job of moving components between departments was putting wear-and-tear on an operator who routinely walked 12 miles a day.

There was no need to reinvent the wheel, only an opportunity to put some new wheels in motion. Orchid purchased a Dex Pro motorized material handling cart from a fellow Michigan company, Amigo Mobility International.

“It’s been extremely efficient for us,” said Tom Parasiliti, production manager at Orchid. “The amount of time it takes to get around our manufacturing floor has gone from one trip every 45 minutes to one every 10 minutes. We’re not waiting for product to arrive, so it helps meet our customer demand and due dates.

“It’s something we didn’t even know we needed and we’re so happy with it.”

There must be a better way

Al Thieme and the original Amigo.

More than 50 years ago, a plumber named Al Thieme was with a family member with multiple sclerosis in Mexico when he realized there must be a better way for people with mobility challenges to get around. To help them, Thieme worked in his garage and invented the first motorized mobility cart for people with disabilities. He named it Amigo, which means “friend” in Spanish.

Since then, Amigo Mobility has manufactured and sold hundreds of thousands of motorized carts for people all over the world who need mobility assistance, and the company has become one of Michigan’s most well-known and loved brands.

Over the years, the company headquartered in Bridgeport, Mich. and its 100-plus employees have used their expertise to make innovative motorized equipment for the grocery and retail, healthcare, hospital and government sectors. In the past few years, Amigo Mobility has begun creating material handling equipment for industrial uses such as the manufacturing floor at Orchid.

Smaller, more agile and less expensive than forklifts, the motorized towing and tugger carts by Amigo Mobility are ideal for intra-facility materials transport because they’re more efficient and safer than larger competitors.

“We’ve taken our knowledge and innovation and developed this new line to help people be more efficient during their job and safely move products and materials throughout their facilities,” said Jennifer Kehres, director of business development at Amigo Mobility.

“Most comparable carts are bigger and heavier. Ours is unique. It’s more beneficial than a manual cart, but it’s not as big and bulky and expensive as a Cushman or a forklift.”

Amigo Mobility makes motorized material handling equipment suitable for a variety of industrial settings. For example,

  • The Amigo Dex Pro burden carrier and stock chaser is used in three FedEx facilities across Michigan where it enables operators to cover more ground without feeling fatigued. It can also get into tighter areas where other industrial carts can’t fit.
  • At Fullerton Tool Co. in Saginaw, the Amigo Max Pro platform truck moves extremely dense, heavy carbide tooling from machine to machine for the manufacture of solid carbide cutting tools. 
  • Workers at the Cotterman Co. in Croswell, Mich. now use the Amigo Dex Pro+ to deliver parcels to various work areas throughout a 200,000-square-foot facility because it’s more nimble than a forklift, making it safer and more efficient.

Not every industrial operation needs a forklift or expensive material handling equipment. In many situations, an Amigo cart is just the right size for improving efficiency at lower cost.

It’s also often the best option for safety because it’s more maneuverable than larger carts. BORIDE Engineered Abrasives in Traverse City has used the Amigo Max Pro to mitigate the extreme ergonomic risk of having employees pull and tug 1,000-pound manual carts.

“Amigo has eliminated that threat from our facility,” said Ernie Fryer, safety manager at BORIDE Engineered Abrasives. “I would suggest safety professionals from all industries take a close look at this product. The Max Pro has most definitely been a purchase well worth its weight in gold.”

Improving lives through mobility

A half-century ago, Amigo Mobility embarked on a mission of improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis and other disabilities. That purpose has broadened over the years and now includes the lives of manufacturing and warehouse workers across a wide swath of industries.

Explore the Amigo Mobility lineup of motorized material handling carts and know that you have five decades of expertise and reliability behind each and every product.

“There was a need for a product like ours because there were only bigger units, fork trucks, and customers needed something smaller to get around into small areas,” said Al Thieme, Amigo Mobility founder and chairman.

“We have worked for 50 years with motors, wheels, batteries and chargers and we are very good at that. We also have service throughout the United States, and that is one of the key advantages of our products and our company is the service that we can give to the products that we manufacture.”

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