With Help from CIRAS, Dur-A-Lift Designs a New Home

A George, Iowa, manufacturer of farm equipment, scooters, and hydraulic lift equipment is ramping up production in a new 26,000-square-foot building that was designed, with CIRAS’ help, to take the entire operation to a higher level.

Diversified Technologies Inc. (DTI) traces its founding back to the 1888 blacksmith shop of a German immigrant. The company has evolved over the intervening decades to become a diverse corporate family that includes Sudenga Industries Inc. agricultural equipment, Ranger All-Season Electric Scooters, and the popular Dur-A-Lift line of mounted aerial lifts.

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President Larry Kruse said the company has long believed that “we have the opportunity to increase sales (of Dur-A-Lift equipment), but we hadn’t had the capacity to do that until now.”

Iowa State officials cut the ribbon on the new Dur-A-Lift facility earlier this year.

The new building, which was formally dedicated on April 22 at a ceremony attended by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, is designed to give Dur-A-Lift the room it needs.

“We’d like to believe that in this building we can double our (Dur-A-Lift) output,” Kruse said. “We’re very hopeful that can happen. We see a bright future for our lift business.”

To capitalize on that future, DTI sought out CIRAS project manager Jim Poe for help in laying out the new production line in the safest and most efficient way possible. Poe met with a team of DTI employees to talk through all the steps required for a new building and to help them agree on how it should function.

General manager Ron Stewart and his team “had a good idea of what they needed,” Poe said. “They just kind of needed somebody to help them think things through and challenge them a little bit. In this case, there is a lot of heavy lifting that’s going on (on the floor). We just needed to make sure they weren’t lifting over the top of people.”

Poe knew “the right questions to ask the group,” Stewart said. And because of that, “it pretty much went right in order. There were no major obstacles to get around.”

Kruse said Poe’s questioning prompted detailed looks at all aspects of the building—including geothermal heating.

“If we hadn’t had Jim helping us and we hadn’t gotten involved in studying the energy side a little more, we might have missed a few ways to make it a better building,” Kruse said.

“He brought an order to it,” Stewart said. “We needed the structure.”

“We’re very pleased” with CIRAS involvement, Stewart said. “As far as we’re concerned, it’s a real success story.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 edition of CIRAS News. You can find the rest of this issue and more of CIRAS News on our website.