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New Products, Partnerships and Plans: The IRS 2023 Sales Meeting
Industry-Railway Suppliers (IRS) held our annual week-long Sales and Strategic Planning Meeting at IRS. This is a week spent dissecting the peaks and accomplishments from the past year, along with the valleys and opportunities for improvement and growth in the next. We also discussed some of our exciting new products and partnerships in the pipeline, including our newest partnership with Holemaker Technology (HMT).
The 2023 IRS Sales Meeting convening on day one.
On day one we reviewed our marketing objectives and strategies ensuring they align with our company vision. We discussed our exciting new website redesign, to launch this Summer 2023, that will offer more advanced capabilities and control to our online customers. The new site will include the ability to preorder products, and will offer more control over the online ordering process and a more seamless shopping experience.
We dove into our nationwide sales territories assessing our customer needs and pain points, and discussed some of our exciting new products like the Pandrol Self-Propelled Intelligent Clip Driver (CD400SP-IQ). The first of its kind.
The IRS sales and product support team learning about the CD400SP-IQ.
The CD400SP-IQ applies and removes up to 40 e-Clips per minute or 20 Fastclips, and is unique from other tie clipping machines in that it is fully controlled by a handheld wireless Bluetooth remote control– speed, clipping and de-clipping, engine on/off, clipping type, etcetera. And its ‘IQ’ is a data collection interface that tracks many data points such as GPS, machine wear, maintenance schedule, engine hours, production hours, and amount of clipping and declipping.
Playing with the CD400SP-IQ's wireless remote control.
Along with the new CD400SP-IQ, we discussed the new CD300-IQ, which applies and removes up to 30 Fastclips per minute. It also has an ‘IQ’ system for increased automation. The machine’s ‘IQ’ will automatically adjust to the speed of the carrier for highest production value, ensures tools are not activated in the wrong work mode, an idle head is raised for damage prevention, and will also adjust the clip driver to varying rail heights.
IRS Director of Sales David Glawe discussing the new CD300-IQ.
A few of our partners stopped by including our newest partner, Holemaker Technology (HMT). Hugh Crane and his brother Piers began HMT when they identified a large pain point in the metalworking and fabrication industry: Drilling metal and steel using portable handheld tools isn’t fast enough. From there, HMT developed a patented line of powerful drilling and tapping solutions, the VersaDrive system, for use with any portable drilling tools and drills metal and steel up to 15-times faster than standard methods and lasts up to 10-times longer.
Hugh Crane, founder of Holemaker Technology (HMT) demonstrating their patented VersaDrive drilling solutions.
Hugh let us get our hands on some of their relentless VersaDrive drilling solutions and drill some holes in some steel to see for ourselves if they really are 15-times faster than alternative options.
Verdict: They are.
IRS Key Account Managers Sean Keefe and Tommy Wooten drilling steel using HMT's VersaDrive solutions with a Milwaukee impact wrench.
Our partner, Swingmaster also stopped by to discuss their newest in material handling– the Swingmaster Tie Manager (STM) tie crane. This is not your average tie crane. The STM is a state-of-the-art tie crane equipped with a non DEF, Tier 4 final, Cummins power unit, resulting in lower daily operating cost. It has a telescopic jib boom that is strategically offset for improved operator visibility, and proportional failsafe spring-applied, hydraulic released brakes. The STM offers an enormous amount of operator control and customizability as well including control of the boom’s swing radius, a 360-degree camera, and full point-to-point machine diagnostics aiding in troubleshooting and maximizing machine uptime.
Swingmaster's Chief Engineer, Justin Pipols discussing their newest material handling solution, the Swingmaster Tie Manager (SMT).
Postle also came in to discuss welding and rail component repair. Postle’s FrogTuff line of flux-cored welding wire and electrodes are ideal for the repair of manganese railroad frogs that typically need to be welded every 2 to 3 weeks due to the severe impact they endure. In fact, 16 months ago, we performed a field test using Postle’s FrogTuff line for the repair of a highly-trafficked frog on CSX, and that frog has yet to require a single additional repair since.
Tom Skelton of Postle talking rail component repair and their impervious line of FrogTuff and RailTuff welding wires and electrodes.
Postle’s Frogtuff line of high-strength, non-cracking deposits are tough, ductile and work-hardened rapidly. Its high-yielding durability also reduces mushrooming from impact. And under the severe impact railroad frogs suffer, the electrode deposits actually become tougher and harder.
IRS' 2023 Strategic Planning Meeting
An IRS Sales Meeting week would most certainly not be complete without closing it out with our Strategic Planning session for our next fiscal year where we focus on answering the evergreen question, "How can we solve problems for the maintenance-of-way industry?" It’s safe to say we have some big solutions planned for our customers and our work cut out for us in the year ahead.
Industry-Railway Suppliers is the distributor for all products shown above. If you have any questions or inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service department, or give them a call at (630) 766-5708.